Jude Bellingham celebrates after netting Real Madrid's late winner against Union Berlin
Real Madrid players celebrating after a goal. AFP News

In some shocking news coming out of Spain, almost 50 Real Madrid fans have reportedly been scammed out of about 80,000 euros by someone who has been posing as the president of one of the club's official fan groups.

According to Bella Canales, a lawyer who represents the group of victims, the culprit introduced himself as the director of the Peña Madridista Orgullo Vikingo Club in Barcelona. For those unaware, groups of Real Madrid supporters are called Peñas, and they are officially recognised by the club regardless if they are based in Spain or anywhere else around the world. The Orgullo Vikingo Club in Barcelona does not exist in the official list of Peñas, but one of the same name is registered from the city of Lepe in Andalusia.

What was the scam all about?

Apparently, the culprit enticed the fans with season tickets for European games to be played at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium. Canales told Spanish outlet Cadena SER that the said scammer has previously gone after young fans who were looking for tickets only for specific matches.

However, he expanded his modus operandi after the novel coronavirus pandemic. Apparently, he started telling fans that due to numerous deaths from Covid-19, a large number of season tickets have opened up. He also started targeting elderly individuals who perhaps had more money to invest larger amounts for season tickets to European games.

An elderly couple who were scammed out of 4,000 euros told the outlet: "There were two subscriptions. He told us that since many people had died in the pandemic, there were many cards."

They added that when they started to complain about the fraud, they were threatened by the scammer and told that he would beat them up. These conversations happened inside a chat group that the scammer had created which included all of the people he had supposedly "sold" tickets to.

How was the scam executed?

The alleged scammer managed to gain the trust and confidence of the victims because he always stayed at the same hotels as Real Madrid staff whenever they were travelling for away games. The person also interacted with staff members, giving potential victims the false assurance that this person is officially connected with Los Blancos.

The scammer was allegedly "rubbing shoulders" with Real Madrid staff, but Canales did not mention if anyone from within the Real Madrid organisation is also suspected of being involved in the illegal activity.

Threats of violence have been made against the victims

The victims reportedly tried to get in touch with someone from Real Madrid to report the scam, and in response, a three-minute long audio rant full of threats was sent to them by the scammer. A summary of the recording was shared by SER: "You are playing with fire, I have spoken with those at Real Madrid. They are scared of what I do with my life. Leave the topic now... even if you have your money. Madrid is very small and one day we will meet. I will see you at the Bernabéu."

Meanwhile, a journalist from the same publication reached out to the club, who have assured that they have no connection with the accused. However, the club has agreed to cooperate with the investigation and will join the criminal complaint.

The person has sent numerous threats to the victims every time they made a move to seek help or to try to get their money back. In one of the messages, the scammer even challenged one of the victims to hand-to-had combat or a duel with knives.

Finally, the lawyer said that they are determined to go ahead with the criminal complaint. "We hope they can recover by filing a complaint against this person and his collaborators. It is not only for fraud, but for coercion and threats."