A criminal network that used young women to deceive single men into transferring more than 1 million euros (£ 848,000) in savings has been eliminated by international police.

The family gang, mostly Romanian citizens, hired women as domestic servants to hunt down elderly victims between the ages of 70 and 90.

Law enforcement agencies of four European countries raided on Thursday

EU law enforcement agency Europol said on Friday that one victim had been defrauded of 20,000 euros.

Another man suffered two heart attacks after a woman smoked valium as part of a conspiracy to rob his home.

Many of the victims are remote from their families and live in the southern Italian region of Calabria, according to Europol.

Women usually started physical relationships with men before asking for money, often under the guise of health problems or to help poor relatives.

Some of the men were blackmailed when they waived cash claims.

Other gang members transferred funds to Romania through various services.

The gang has managed to amass more than € 1 million (more than £ 848,000) from its scheme and laundered proceeds from investments in property, gold and cars.

Police have arrested 13 gang members, many of whom are believed to have relatives
Police detained 13 gang members

The investigation identified 56 gang members, 16 of whom were key figures in the fraud.

Law enforcement agencies in Italy, Germany, Romania and the Netherlands backed by Europol on Thursday.

They arrested 13 people, including four in Italy, two in Germany and seven in Romania.

A total of 23 homes were searched, including 13 in Italy, where police confiscated electronic equipment and documents.


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