Investigators have discovered a suspected identity card forgery workshop in Magdeburg. On Wednesday, about 220 officers searched three apartments and the workshop, which was disguised as an office, according to a statement by the Halle Federal Police Crime Investigation Department on Thursday. They seized data carriers and forgery paraphernalia such as printers, printing plates, seals, chemicals and foil elements. It was an operation by the Frankfurt General Prosecutor’s Office, Central Office for Combating Internet Crime, and the Federal Police.
Three suspects, aged 23 to 24, are alleged to have offered fake documents under the pseudonym “FakeID-Dobby” on the Darknet since June 2018 on marketplaces such as Wallstreet Market, which was taken down in 2019, and crimenetwork.co. According to the report, the assortment included prescriptions, temporary German identity cards and identity documents from Austria, Italy, the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary. The three men are said to have made a profit of around 45,000 euros. It had been paid predominantly in the cryptocurrency Bitcoin.
Forgery of documents in 140 cases
The two 24-year-old main suspects were taken to Hesse, where they were served with arrest warrants issued against them by the Giessen district court on Thursday. They are reportedly accused of joint, commercial forgery of documents in 140 cases. The third accused at the age of 23 years is at large. All three defendants, who have no criminal record, face multi-year prison sentences if convicted, according to the Federal Police.
The arrests were preceded by ongoing investigations since 2019. How it was possible to uncover the identity of the suspects allegedly operating via the darknet, the police did not elaborate. Police Senior Superintendent Romy Töwe stated, according to the police release, “The supposed protection of identity through anonymity is exploited by those acting to make prosecution more difficult. In the past, police and judicial authorities increased their digital competencies in terms of personnel and technology. In this trial, it could be shown that these efforts are paying off.”