The Civil Guard has arrested eight people, one of whom has entered prison, after dismantling an organization dedicated to appropriating the inheritances of up to 22 deceased elderly people and that came to set up companies and parallel societies to allegedly launder money.

The armed institute has explained that those arrested, with 20 properties and 71 bank accounts that could belong to the heirs of the deceased, are investigated for crimes of criminal organization, theft, fraud, document falsification, misappropriation, money laundering, usurpation of civil status and illegal possession of weapons in Alicante, Valencia and Bizkaia.

The gang, which acted as a criminal organization, identified the deceased who did not have known heirs through people who worked in funeral homes and, after death, stole objects from the homes where the deceased lived.

The investigation began in May 2021, when, according to the Benemérita, the agents found that someone had removed the judicial seals of a house located in Benissa (Alicante) in which reforms were carried out and various objects were stolen, including a high-end motorcycle.

In a first phase, the agents identified two members of the group who worked in a funeral home in the Alicante region of the Marina Alta and who, in addition to stealing the jewelry, passed information to steal in those same homes and obtain their bank passwords.

The leaders of the organization

After ensuring that no family member claimed the body of the deceased, the leaders of the organization began to act: two brothers living in Bilbao, a 63-year-old woman with studies in Law and a 54-year-old man insurance mediator.

The woman was a manager of 12 companies, including two real estate companies and four agencies, and the man owned an insurance brokerage.

The real estate companies, located in Dénia (Alicante) and the Basque Country, were used to rent and sell the properties of the deceased.

Through the agencies, which were in Bilbao and Cantabria, they converted the deceased into guarantors of their companies through false commercial contracts, so they got the deceased to have a patrimonial responsibility and thus kept their assets very economically.

To evade taxes, the brothers used a construction and renovation company, an insurance bureau, a mechanical workshop in Bilbao, two hotels in the provinces of Murcia and Valencia, a restaurant in Dénia and two offshore companies in Ireland and Malta and even took control of a cultural association in Bilbao to simulate donations and defaults in the life of the deceased.

The criminal group increased its criminal activity due to the increase in the number of elderly people killed by the last pandemic, the difficulties of families to take care of their bodies and the lack of known heirs in other cases.

After the investigators accredited the participation of this group in the illicit appropriation of 20 properties with a value of more than three million euros and given the risk of flight of one of the leaders, last October seven searches were carried out in different locations in Alicante, Valencia and Bizkaia, in which seven men and one woman were arrested.

Likewise, five firearms, almost 100 pieces of jewelry, 11,000 euros in cash, various computer and mobile phone devices, eight motor vehicles, a cryptocurrency wallet, 20 properties and 71 bank accounts that are being analyzed have been seized.

To date, a total of 22 deceased have been identified who have been victims of this criminal group, these two being of Spanish nationality, five French, one Belgian, four Swiss, one British, eight German, and one Finnish, lacking many of them known heirs.

However, the Civil Guard does not end this operation since it does not rule out that the number of affected may increase.

The Court of Instruction No. 2 of Denia has decreed the entry into prison without bail of the woman leader of the band and has decreed precautionary measures for the rest.

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