The Guardia Civil have arrested three people and charged another 12 for alleged fraud, forgery and conspiracy, for being part of a gang that bought used cars, altered their mileometers and made them up to sell them on again with fake papers.
As many as 122 buyers could have been conned since 2011, most of them elderly and foreign.
After a possible fraud by a Torrevieja car sales company was reported to Guardia Civil by a person in January, the investigation found the vehicles were being sold with fake service histories and so could break down or even be dangerous. Many more people also claimed to be victims of this business and another one in the same company were located.
Guardia Civil searched two car showrooms in Torrevieja, two homes in Almoradí and Ciudad Quesada and two warehouses in Almoradí for secretly repairing and painting the vehicles. Documents and dismantled mileometers showed the vehicles had driven much further than they displayed and 151 of them were sealed off. The vehicles were sometimes repainted to make them more attractive or even a different colour so they seemed in better condition. A total of 198 had been manipulated by an average of 140,000 kilometres, but sometimes more than 200,000.
The people arrested are a father and son of Romanian nationality identified as I.C. and C.C., aged 58 and 36 respectively, as well as a Spanish man who sometimes managed the businesses, identified as C.M.G.R., aged 50.
The operation remains open, as there could be other victims, given the volume of sales registered by the businesses involved.