Chile’s police on Friday arrested at least 55 people in a fiscal fraud case that could be one of the biggest in the country’s history, amounting to about $275 million and implicating small and mid-sized companies in different parts of the country.

Marcelo Freyhoffer, a high officer at Chile’s tax agency, told journalists those arrested were associated with companies that did not render real services and committed fraud through false tax documents. Their goal was to pay less tax or obtain fraudulent tax returns, he said.

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Freyhoffer said the suspects will stand trial for tax crimes, criminal association, money laundering, customs fraud and making false declarations, and could be jailed for up to 15 years in what he called the country’s biggest fraud case ever.

Chilean flag

The Chilean flag is flown at at Plaza de Maipu in Santiago, Chile, October 19, 2019. (Photo by PABLO VERA/AFP via Getty Images)

The investigation started in 2016 and touched companies operating in a wide range of areas, varying from construction to exporters of cell phones.

Chile’s President Gabriel Boric said the arrests show that “the institutions work against those who commit crimes, against those who commit white-collar crime, against those who commit acts of corruption.”

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Boric spoke during a visit to the region of Magallanes, in Chile’s south, where he voted on the new proposed Constitution.

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