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£20k worth of cash was seized this morning (5 July 2021) at a cottage in the Rainow area of Macclesfield, as part of a large investment fraud investigation.
Officers from GMP's Economic and Cyber Crime Section executed a warrant at the property just before 07:30am and located the cash inside a carrier bag on a shelf.
The raid is part of Operation Penina, an on-going investigation into a complex investment type fraud run by sophisticated criminal groups, primarily targeting elderly victims and spanning across the United Kingdom.
Today's raid follows on from the initial raid as part of the operation which was executed at properties in Rochdale and Levenshulme back in May, in which over 20 designer watches and around £4k in cash was seized and three people were arrested.
There are now currently eight suspects under investigation as part of Operation Penina, pending further enquiries.
Victims of the fraud had searched online for ISA investments, and following this were contacted and persuaded to transfer money into what they believed was a well-known banking establishment, when really it was into a fraudulent banking product.
Over £150,000 worth of victim's money was transferred into accounts within the Greater Manchester area and laundered into further accounts to benefit influential members of criminal groups.
Detective Chief Inspector Joseph Harrop, from GMP's Economic and Cyber Crime Section, said: "The raid today has been the culmination of a great team effort, which will continue beyond today.
Over a period of months, officers and staff from the Economic and Cyber Crime Section have gathered intelligence and evidence, leading to the activity today where we have been able to continue to enforce, intervene and tackle the issue of investment fraud.
"The methods employed by criminals operating this type of fraud, are very convincing to even the most diligent of victims. They utilise documents, email accounts, telephone numbers and web addresses that upon first appearance seem genuine.
"Today's excellent result will significantly disrupt this kind of fraudulent activity that lines the pockets of organised crime groups, and protect well-meaning people from falling victim to sophisticated scams in the future.
“Covid-19 has affected us all in different ways, for some it has brought financial uncertainty and unfortunately it is this vulnerability that fraudsters will look to exploit.
“Our message to the public is to take your time with your money and personal information and don’t let anyone pressure you into making a rushed decision. Fraudsters are sophisticated and their investment scams will look like genuine investments with professional-looking websites and documents, so always check the Financial Conduct Authority’s ScamSmart warning list first. The @gmpfraud Twitter account also has up-to-date information on scams.
“Anyone who suspects they have been a victim of fraud to report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.”