A 30-year-old priest was arrested in Thessaloniki Monday for defrauding at least 166 jobseekers whom he had promised work across Europe via a bogus recruitment agency.
The priest is thought to be the leader of a group of criminals who swindled more than 78,000 euros out of unsuspecting victims by persuading them to deposit money into various banking accounts in order to move forward with a supposed recruitment process.
The 30-year old priest, who was ordained last August and had been working at the church in Lagadas, Thessaloniki, has already been arrested.
While presenting the case, the Thessaloniki police chief said that the defendant had been arrested in August 2008 for similar scams amounting to 132,000 euros. However, he was released on bail by the criminal court.
Explaining the conmen’s method, a Greek police spokesperson stated that, having posted adverts in newspapers and online, they would ask prospective victims who responded for a resumé and to sign a contract of employment. “Initially they took 100 euros, then another 100, before charging 492 euros for drafting a contract,” noted the spokesperson, adding that the money was deposited in the accounts of third parties before the criminals routed it through proxies to get their hands on it. “They set up a kind of proxy pyramid,” he said.