Feb. 28 - Police carry out a worldwide bust on suspected boiler room operations, where investors are sold worthless or non-existent shares. Melanie Ralph looks at which countries are involved in the sting.
These were the scenes in Barcelona when police swooped on just one location of a suspected boiler room operation. This one is reported to be at the heart of an international web of crime, where people were sold worthless or bogus investments. Some of those arrested weren't stereotypical criminals, and included graduates. The two-year investigation has resulted in over 100 arrests in Spain, Eastern Europe, America, and the UK. City of London Police Commander Steve Head. SOUNDBITE, (English) Steven Head, Commander, City Police of London, saying: ''This is fraud, this is stealing from people on an unprecedented scale. We've got at least 850 victims that we've identified already in the United Kingdom, there are bound to be many many more. We know they have lost millions of pounds. People's lives have been blighted, people's lives have been devastated by this type of crime.'' Although boiler rooms operations haven't been eradicated, authorities now hope the scam will be seriously hampered. City of London police led the operation, working in collaboration with the Spanish National Police, the UK's national crime agency and the US's Homeland security. Reports say the operation closed down 14 boiler rooms in Spain, two in the UK and one in Serbia.