Italian police disguised as priests arrested five criminals dressed as cardinals in an operation carried out Thursday in Rome.

The country’s Carabinieri police planned a mission to nab the fraudsters after receiving reports that they hoodwinked not less than €1.7 million out of their victims in over 20 different scams, The Times reported.

The scammers tricked their victims into meeting them in churches near the Vatican or at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, Major Fabio Valletta told Agence France-Presse (AFP), according to Deutsche Welle (DW).

There, dressed as cardinals, they would present themselves as Vatican intermediaries promising business people in financial straits that they could secure loans on their behalf from the Vatican bank.

The fake cardinals’ only demand was that the victims paid them in cash upfront for their services, according to reporting from DW and The Times. (RELATED: Here’s Why Media Calls Biden A ‘Devout…

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