A network of fake residence permits operating from a dismantled Marbella beauty salon
The gang operated mainly from the Costa del Sol, but in total 39 arrests were made in Algeciras, Almeria and Granada.
National Police officers have dismantled a criminal network which, through the use of a fictitious company, has falsified documents so that people living illegally in Spain can meet the requirements of the country’s immigration law in order to to obtain residence and work permits, as well as access to the entire Shengen area.
Under the name of Operation Fénix in Algeciras (Cádiz) and Operation Ballesta in Marbella, a total of 39 people were arrested for their involvement in the falsification of documents, the aiding of illegal immigration, the fraud of benefits and membership in a criminal group.
Among the detainees are six people who formed the core of the organization based in Marbella, where, through an agency hidden in the back room of a beauty salon, they offered residence permits and work to illegal immigrants living in different regions of Spain.
The other 32 people were arrested in Algeciras, Barcelona, Gijón, Almería, Madrid, Marbella, Albacete and Granada, who have since been asked to hand over their fraudulently obtained residence permits.
Fake rental contracts
The investigation began after the identification of various properties in Algeciras where foreigners were registered, although the owners of the properties claimed that they had not rented them. However, false rental contracts had been sent electronically to the town hall of Algeciras.
It was found that the people registered on the properties had connections in the Costa del Sol and Almeria and not in Algeciras and used the same modus operandi to obtain residence and work permits through a fictitious company, they were also all represented by the same person at the local foreigners’ office.
The investigation revealed that the foreigners had contracted the services of the same person in Marbella who had offered the false documentation, for which the people agreed to pay between 2,500 and 5,000 euros.
The “manager” who claimed to be an expert in Spanish immigration law took advantage of their vulnerable situation, some of them even sold assets or went into debt in order to obtain the papers.
They were also offered the possibility of repaying their debts to the “manager”, as many of them subsequently applied for various state benefits.
Although the documents were delivered in Marbella, the fictitious documents had addresses in Algeciras, so residence permits would be requested in the province of Cadiz and not in Malaga, where the leader of the network was already known to the authorities.
Marriages of Convenience
In some cases, in addition to false registrations, they have been put in contact with nationals to set up marriages of convenience. In other cases, they have falsified registration certificates from other autonomous communities, including Catalonia, the Balearic Islands, the Basque Country or Valencia where, as there are co-official languages, the certificates were issued in a language unknown to the officials of the Andalusian offices for foreigners. , making it difficult to verify them.
A court in Algeciras is investigating the case, where the detainees are to appear.