Colombian police on Tuesday arrested 10 suspected members of a gang that stole a total of 1.2 billion pesos ($620,870) from three companies by means of "deceptive maneuvers" on the Internet.

The chief of police, Gen. Rodolfo Palomino, told a press conference about the arrests made over the past few hours in the northern coastal cities of Santa Marta, Valledupar and Barranquilla.

The gang operated by "diverting money to non-existent suppliers," he said.

The cybercriminals "developed a program that penetrated online bank services with remote access," appealed to the greed of bank employees and made use without permission of financial institutions' computers, according to the investigation.

Once they had access to the computers, the gang members used a spy app to glean information on balances and make transfers to their e-mail accounts.

When the money had been transferred to the gang's accounts, it was withdrawn by bogus contractors who delivered it to a member of the criminal organization.

A woman who worked as secretary for the management of the affected companies was the gang leader, while the others under arrest had passed themselves off as suppliers and recruited people who would let them use their accounts in exchange for 10 percent of the total deposited. EFE