MADRID, Nov. 3 (Xinhua) -- The Spanish national police force on Saturday confirmed they had broken up a criminal network dedicated to falsifying and cloning bank cards and led by "an individual who hed previously been condemned for financing " the Sept. 11 attack in New York.
As well as making 19 arrests, the police confirmed in a statement that they carried out 10 raids as part of the operation in which they recovered 200 false cards, 30,000 euros in cash and various devices used to reading and copying the information on bank cards.
The criminals had intended to use the fake cards to defraud around 5 million euros (5.69 million U.S. dollars) from automatic cashpoints and shops, although they were detained after defrauding only 500,000 euros.
Police explained that the detainees were experts in creating fraudulent credit cards with techniques known as "skimming" and "carding" (which allows information to be taken from a bank card's magnetic strip and subsequently used on a "cloned" or copied fake card).
The fake cards were then used to "withdraw money from automatic cash machines or in the massive purchase of products."
The operation began when police became aware of the existence of "an organized group which was specialized in the falsification and cloning of bank cards"
"This was a structured organization led by an individual who had been condemned for actively collaborating in obtaining money through the fraudulent use and cloning of bank cards in order to finance the attack of the Twin Towers in New York in 2001," continued the police statement.
The leader of the organization took great care not to be discovered, said the police, pointing out that he hardly ever left his residence and when he did so, it was "in the company of members of the gang in charge of providing security."
He also used disguises such as "different wigs, hats and glasses to hide his face and avoid police action." (1 euro = 1.14 U.S. dollars)