Undercover as priests, Italian cops bust $2 million fake cardinals scam

ROME – A group of con men who dressed up as cardinals to swindle victims out of millions of dollars have been caught by Italian police, in an undercover sting operation conducted by officers who were disguised as priests. Members of the Carabinieri, the Italian military police who enjoy broad authority in Italy, set the trap at the Basilica of Holy Mary of Angels and Martyrs in central Rome after receiving complaints from two hotels that were scammed out of 20,000 euros ($23,631) and 75,000 euros ($88,616) in 2017. Since 1988, the group of five con men, aged between 58-75, pretended to be priests, monsignors, and even cardinals, presenting themselves as “intermediaries of the Vatican” who could offer business owners in financial trouble, mostly in northern Italy, advantageous loans either from the Vatican bank or a non-existent Luxembourg financial company called “Eurozone,” without requiring personal financial guarantees.

Undercover as priests, Italian cops bust $2 million fake cardinals scam

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