Criminal Lawyer for Economic Crimes

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The Spanish Criminal Code defines the crime of swindling as that in which a subject uses deception to get another to transfer goods (it can be money, real estate or any other type of property).

The deception must be sufficient to produce error in another, inducing him to hand over the property to his own or another’s detriment. That is to say, those cases in which there has not been sufficient deception or where the arguments are implausible, e.g. when someone tells a friend to give him money with which he is going to build a rocket for another galaxy or to create a vaccine for a non-existent virus, will fall outside the scope of criminal law.

This duty of self-protection should not be taken to the extreme of establishing in society a principle of permanent mistrust that requires exhaustive checking of all information given by the other party. Therefore, in order to measure whether the deception has been sufficient, the circumstances of the specific case and of the victim must be taken into account.

In Spain, the penalties for the crime of fraud are from 6 months to 3 years imprisonment, depending on the following criteria:

– The amount defrauded.
– The economic loss caused to the victim.
– The relationship between the victim and the fraudster.
– The means used by the fraudster.
– Other circumstances which serve to assess the seriousness of the offence.

Our lawyers specialised in fraud will analyse your case and explain the seriousness of the crime.

If the amount defrauded does not exceed 400 euros, the penalty is a fine of 1 to 3 months.

There are many types of fraud:

Types of fraud

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IT fraud

This consists of computer manipulation of computers through phishing, carding, malware or other types of deception.


Consists of deceiving the victim into believing that he or she will obtain high returns on his or her investment. In many cases they are pyramid schemes that are only sustained as long as the participants continue to invest in the company and the fictitious profits are paid with new contributions.

There are many forms: trading, arbitrage, commodities, etc. and our lawyers experts in scams will explain the best strategy in your case.


This is a type of financial scam, in which fraudsters simulate investment in currencies: euro-dollar, euro-pound, yen-dollar, etc.

Many scams have computer programmes that simulate the profitability obtained by the clients so that when the victim connects to the website with their username and password, the fake broker gives them historical data on the investment and the evolution of the different investments. This behaviour gives the appearance of professionalism in order to trick the participants.

It is essential to have a lawyer specialised in this type of financial fraud, which means with experience in criminal law but also in economic scams.

Real estate

There are many real estate scams in Spain, of which we will highlight three:

1.4.1. Dual sale

This is a modality that consists of deceiving the buyer into believing that they are the true owner of a property. In reality, the property no longer belongs to the seller because he has previously transferred it to another buyer. In this case, there is unfair enrichment because the price of the property is charged twice, to the detriment of the second buyer.

1.4.2. Sale of another person’s property

These are cases in which a subject sells a good as if it were his own property, when it is someone else’s property. The rental of such property is also an illegal act.

1.4.3. Concealing encumbrances

The last type of improper fraud covered by Art. 251 of the Spanish Criminal Code that we are going to study is the one that consists on hiding encumbrances from the buyer that are known to the seller.

It is common for this type of fraud to be committed through commercial companies such as developers or construction companies, but your experts defence lawyers and the Court must investigate who the de facto and de jure administrators of these companies are, in order to attribute responsibility to the real perpetrators.

In this respect, it is important to point out that those who participated in the specific act and those who, knowing what was going on and with the power to prevent it, consented to a criminal activity carried out in the commercial company they managed, will be liable.


Cryptocurrency scams are becoming increasingly common. Very few lawyers are experts in criminal law and cryptos such as bitcoin or ethereum, so contact us to have an answer to your case.

Aggravated fraud

Prison sentences are increased to the maximum limit of 6 years if any of the following requirements are met:

– It involves basic necessities such as housing.
– It is carried out by abusing the signature of another person.
– It involves artistic, historical, cultural or scientific heritage.
– It exceeds 50,000 euros.
– If it is carried out by manipulating evidence in a procedure.
– The perpetrator is a repeat offender.

These are complex types of fraud and our fraud lawyers will explain the steps to resolve them.


In Spain, when someone receives a good with an obligation to return it and instead of doing so, incorporates it definitively into his or her patrimony, its a crime of misappropriation.

Misappropriation differences

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Differences between misappropriation and the crime of theft

Misappropriation and theft have in common the incorporation into one’s own patrimony of another’s thing and they are different in that in larceny the subject takes the thing while in misappropriation he receives it.

However, there are many doubtful cases:

– Valencia: a traveller who undertakes to watch a rucksack while the owner goes to the toilet.
– Barcelona: a caretaker of the property who is entrusted with the collection of rent, expenses or community fees.
– Malaga: a lorry driver who sells the contents without the owner’s consent.
– Alicante: a cashier in a supermarket or shop who takes the money from the cash register.
– Ibiza: an accountant who takes company funds.
– Mallorca: a property administrator who appropriates material entrusted to his care.
– Tenerife: a managing director of a company with company assets.
– Gran Canaria: a policeman who seizes goods and tools found in vehicles in the depot.

Differences with the crime of swindling

The fundamental difference is that in the crime of swindling it is essential that there has been deception prior to the act of transferring property. In other words, an antecedent and sufficient deception that has caused the victim to transfer or donate an asset. In misappropriation this requirement does not exist, since the victim hands over the thing with knowledge of the truth and the offence is consummated when it is not returned.

The penalties to be imposed are the same, from 6 months to 3 years in average cases and up to 6 years in cases where there is an aggravating circumstance.

Differences with the offence of unfair administration

There is a relationship of subsidiarity, the offence of misappropriation will be applied in the absence of the offence of unfair administration, which will be explained below.

Differences with the offence of misappropriation of public funds

The fundamental difference is that the offence of embezzlement requires the active subject to be a civil servant.

Many of these concepts are technical, one of our expert lawyers in crimes of theft, robbery or illegal appropriation will explain the possibilities for your case.


In Spain, the offence of unfair or disloyal administration is committed by those who have the power to administer the assets of others and infringe the duty to do so diligently, causing damage.

The offence can only be committed by those who have the power to administer the assets, which makes them the guarantors of the assets.

The prison sentence is the same as for fraud, from 6 months to 3 years for average frauds and up to 6 years if there are any of the aggravating circumstances mentioned for aggravated fraud.

In any case, it is a crime with many nuances and subject to interpretation. Choosing a lawyer specialising in economic crimes is essential because determining whether there has been a breach of the duty to act diligently is a task of thorough and subjective analysis.

Finally, spouses, ascendants, descendants, siblings and first-degree relatives are exempt from criminal liability for financial crimes and can only be claimed in civil proceedings.

At Olimpa Abogados all our partners are specialists in economic crimes, submit your case to us for analysis and we will give you our opinion to advise you on the best strategy.



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