Gardaí raid 15 homes in multi-million euro fraud investigation

Gardaí raid 15 homes in multi-million euro fraud investigation

Gardaí have raided 15 homes in five counties as part of a multi-million euro fraud investigation.

The homes are being searched in Dublin, Meath, Laois, Louth and Kildare by officers investigating money laundering and other related offences.

More than 100 gardaí including local, specialist and regional support units are involved in this morning's raids which began at 7am.

They are targeting a West African Criminal network and seized documents, computers and four Nissan X-Trail SUVs.

According to RTÉ, they have also instructed banks here to close around 350 accounts suspected of being used in the fraud believed to involve around €15m.

They have also identified another 170 suspect accounts in Europe, West Africa and China.

Officers from the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau have been investigating these suspected money-laundering and related offences for over a year

Detectives believe the gang is involved in invoice redirection fraud, which involves sending fraudulent e-mails to businesses from existing suppliers advising them of new bank details.

Subsequent invoice payments are then mistakenly made to the fraudsters' accounts before they are believed to have been moved to France, Italy and further afield.

A Garda statement said: "The operation is being led by the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau, who are investigating the activities of a West-African Criminal Network suspected to be involved in the laundering of €14.6 million in criminal proceeds through Irish bank accounts.

"Assisting G.N.E.C.B are Gardaí from the Northern, Eastern and Dublin Metropolitan Regions, along with Officers from the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau, and the Armed Support Units.

"Among the matters under investigations is the possibility that laundered money may have been used by this Criminal Network to fund the purchase of property and other high-value items across the country."

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