International loan app scam that defrauded several people out of over Rs 300 crore busted: Cyber ​​Police

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Cyber ​​police officials from the Mumbai Crime Branch have busted an “international loan application fraud” in which a gang of at least 14 people, arrested in June and July, duped several Indians to the tune of Rs 300 to Rs 350 crore, police said. At least six of the defendants were using a cryptocurrency which they suspect was used to siphon off money from “brains sitting overseas”, they added.

Since last year, thousands of people across India have fallen prey to illegally operating loan apps, prompting the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to start the process of creating new guidelines to make in the face of the threat.

The enormity of the fraud was brought to light after a salesman, Sandeep Korgavkar, 38, died by suicide on May 4 this year due to alleged extortion and sexual harassment by loan collectors . The defendant allegedly called Korgavkar more than 50 times and sent his transformed nude photos to people in his locality as well as colleagues. Before ending his life, Korgavkar had approached the Kurar police, who had registered an “unrecognized” complaint. After his death, cyberpolice began investigating cases of loan application fraud.

One of the cases investigated by Cyber ​​Police involved a man who took Rs 3.85 lakh from no less than 10 apps. Like Korgavkar, he was harassed by people who called him from 50 different numbers and extorted Rs 15 lakh from him. Cyberpolice tracked down first accused Sudhakar Reddy, 25, in Kurnool in Andhra Pradesh on June 24. Reddy spilled the fuse on 13 other people arrested in Bengaluru in Karnataka, Gurgaon in Haryana, Malad in Mumbai, Nainital in Uttarakhand and Kangpokpi. in Manipur. The majority of the defendants were arrested in Bengaluru from where they allegedly directed the racketeering.

One of the accused arrested is Sanjay Arora, 28, from Gurgaon, who was arrested on July 4. The police found in his possession dozens of SIM cards, which he had obtained on false documents and passed on to other defendants who opened bank accounts and front companies that use them. All the bank accounts had transactions of Rs three to four crore, police said.

Another defendant, Sneh Somani, arrested in Malad (west) on July 5, was found in possession of 95 SIM cards.

Somani’s lawyer, Ravish Zamindar, said: “Investigations are ongoing. We will be asking for a deposit soon. They make him a scapegoat.

Priyanshi Kandpal, 24, a Chinese language translator, was arrested in Nainital on July 10. His job was to translate information received from the other defendant in English into a Chinese language and send it to masterminds overseas, police said.

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Like Kandpal, Liang Shang, 39, arrested on July 11 in Bangalore, was in contact with masterminds whom he spoke to in Chinese, police said. Police found 80GB of pornographic material data on his laptop which is suspected of being used to process videos of victims, including several women. He is suspected of using cryptocurrency to siphon off money from his masters overseas, police said.

The defendants used a dialer called “NX Cloud Tele” through which only outgoing calls could be made and which could not be traced back to the defendant. The defendants, who worked as managers, spoke with their bosses overseas using apps like Ding Talk, Telegram and WhatsApp, police added. The defendants attempted to destroy technical evidence and a forensic investigation is underway to find their foreign masters, police said.

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