A group said to be responsible for an international fraud scheme targeting the real estate industry has been arrested, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
According to the release, five people were arrested in the U.S. on conspiracy charges while an additional three people were taken into custody abroad. NAR’s article notes the ring allegedly targeted Memphis, Tenn.-based realty company Crye-Leike among other entities.
The eight are suspected of carrying out a plot to break into email accounts and use information there to trick others into wiring money. Crye-Leike helped the FBI in what was called Operation Keyboard Warrior.
“The defendants allegedly unleashed a barrage of international fraud schemes that targeted U.S. businesses and individuals, robbing them to the tune of approximately $15 million,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General John P. Cronan.
The arrests are significant because brokerages nationwide have been targeted by thieves using sophisticated techniques to fool agents and their clients into wiring money to offshore accounts.
NAR advises its members to never trust any email instructions about wiring funds, an suggests anyone getting such a request call the source to confirm it is legitimate.