MONTREAL - Quebec provincial police said Tuesday that they dismantled an international debit-card fraud network operating in several countries, mainly in Europe.
Sixteen suspects, including the alleged mastermind, were nabbed in raids in Montreal and the Eastern Townships, police told a news conference. Officers carried out 20 search warrants.
Ringleaders orchestrated a fraud of "potentially $12 million abroad," Capt. Richard Gauthier said.
Fraudsters installed bogus debit-card terminals in various businesses in Germany and France.
"For example, they could have distracted the merchant and swapped the terminal at the sales counter," Gauthier said.
The fraudsters stole information from more than 30,000 people.
The data was sent to Quebec, where it was decrypted.
"The data was then returned overseas and counterfeit cards were made to access victims' bank accounts," Gauthier said.
The investigation, dubbed Operation Spyglass, began 14 months ago. More than 150 police officers participated in the raids on Tuesday.