Husband and wife among 23-member gang guilty of sophisticated fraud in Saudi Arabia

Group jailed for total of 111 years after duping victims into fake gold, oil and crypto investments

The General Court in Riyadh. Real estate, cars and electronic devices used by the group have been seized. AFP
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An expatriate man and his Saudi wife are among 23 members of a gang jailed for a total of 111 years for a sophisticated fraud involving fake investments, phoney websites and foreign shell companies.

Real estate, cars and devices used by the group to commit their crimes have been seized by Saudi authorities.

They were also jointly fined 28.6 million riyals (Dh27.9m) and had the profits of their crimes confiscated.

Charges included financial fraud, money laundering, counterfeiting and violating the country's anti-information law, the kingdom's prosecutors said.

The criminals arrested were all sentenced to a total of 111 years, but it was not made clear how long each of the accused would spend in prison.

The gang promoted fake gold, oil and digital currency investments to swindle a large number of Saudis and expatriates.

They also created websites to promote the fake investment portfolios.

Victims who shared their bank details had large sums of cash withdrawn from their accounts and then transferred to bank accounts registered outside the kingdom under shell companies.

The investigation also revealed the fraudsters moved some of the money between victims' bank accounts to trick them into believing the sums were profits and lure them into doubling their investments.

Four real-estate units, several vehicles and electronic devices used in the crimes were seized by authorities.

The commercial licenses for the entities involved have been cancelled and judges ordered the deportation of expatriate offenders.

Procedures to recover funds moved outside the country are continuing. The prosecutors will also go after those who received the cash.

Updated: December 20, 2022, 6:40 AM