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CRIME

Police bust group responsible for million-euro toll road pass scam

A 76-year-old Barcelona engineer allegedly cooked up the passes in his bedroom

Authorities on Sunday announced that they have busted an organization that swindled about one million euros from Spanish toll road operators by selling fraudulent passes to drivers.

Officials at UDEF, the Economic and Tax Crimes Squad, said that a network of businesses also helped the organization by selling the package of the passes to frequent toll road users — who were mainly truckers — for 500 euros.

A 76-year-old Barcelona engineer is said to have come up with the idea and prepared the packaged passes in his bedroom. According to UDEF, two types of passes were developed: one to be used solely on Spanish toll roads and another type valid on roads in France, Italy and Germany.

Authorities said that so far 39 people have been arrested in Barcelona, Tarragona, Valencia and Seville. More suspects are expected to be detained in the coming days.

The investigation began when one private toll road operator filed a complaint after discovering that drivers were using fraudulent passes. From that investigation, police also discovered that the organization was making and distributing false credit cards to pay for toll fares.

Authorities said that the perpetrators would meet with truckers at road stops near Barcelona where they conducted the transactions.

The false passes were valid for one month.

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