A plane flies over a field (ILLUSTRATIVE).
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Dozens of suspects, including several lawyers, ran a scam in recent years to systematically steal plots of land in northern Israel valued at millions of shekels, police said Monday as the investigation went public.
According to police, detectives have worked undercover for several months building a case against the suspects, who include five attorneys at the center of the alleged scam. Police say the attorneys and their accomplices created a method for falsifying the ownership of land, including through fraudulent documents.
The suspects potentially could face charges of forgery, fraud, money laundering and extortion.
Police said the scam was in operation for a few years and that the co-conspirators managed to falsify ownership of more than 20 plots of land in northern Israel, mostly used for agricultural purposes.
In a number of cases, police said they succeeded in selling the properties to unsuspecting buyers while also defrauding state authorities.
Police began detaining and arresting suspects in the alleged conspiracy late Sunday night, eventually bringing more than 30 suspects in for questioning by Monday morning. Hours later, 14 suspects were brought to court for remand extensions where police requested they be kept in custody while the investigation continues.