CID Karnataka’s cybercrime division arrested nine accused, including four foreign nationals, in a major money laundering scam in the name of an investment in a food bank worth over Rs 290 crore .
The team received a complaint from Razor Pay Software Private Limited alleging that the accused people were using the company’s payment solutions saying they were operating a business in the gaming, social and e-commerce categories. They defrauded the business by using IT resources and deviating from their original business category they had enrolled in, and began routing their transactions to collect payments from another named business. “Powerbank,” an app listed on Google Play Store, read an official statement.
Through customer complaints, the complaining company learned that the public had invested a certain amount in the “Powerbank” application to earn a certain percentage of daily and weekly interest on the amount invested. The defendants, after accepting the invested amount, gave neither the agreed interest nor the principal amount, thus withholding the principal amount from their clients, resulting in fraud and deviation from the normal course of business.
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Accused arrested in Delhi, Surat
The investigative team overseen by MD Sharath, Police Superintendent, Cybercrime Division, CID succeeded in arresting the defendants from Delhi, Surat and other places. This includes two Chinese nationals and two Tibetan nationals and five people acting as directors of the companies. There are a few other cases recorded at various police stations in Karnataka, the statement said.
During the investigation, it was discovered that Anas Ahmed, a Kerala-based businessman, was the main accused involved in the money laundering racketeering. He had very close ties to the Chinese hawala operators which came to light during the investigation. The accused had opened shell companies on behalf of Bullfinch Technologies, H&S Ventures and Clifford Ventures to channel the fraud money.
Anas Ahmed is married to a Chinese national and he was educated in China.
Application led by the main defendant Anas Ahmed
The online rummy app hosted by him was then camouflaged and converted into different apps like Power Bank and Sun Factory which sought investment from the public promising good returns. An unusual spike was seen in user investments on the day Anas Ahmed announced much higher returns. In accordance with his plan, apps from the Google Play Store and other websites were taken down and he fled with money, the statement said.
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During the investigation, a total of Rs 290 crore entering his bank accounts was discovered. The cybercrime division managed to freeze a significant portion of the money in the account. It was also noted during the investigation that there had been a huge spike in shell company opening since November 2020, he added.
These days, criminals operate online programs that promise higher returns on investment. They take advantage of social media platforms to entice people to sign up for their programs.
Criminals create mobile apps and put them online for the public to download. To attract more people for the investments, the criminals initially pay a small payment and stop the payments once a large amount is collected. They even open shell companies to channel funds fraudulently collected.
It is relevant to note that Chinese managers are in possession of a large number of shell companies and bank accounts. Attracted by the offer of Chinese nationals, many innocent Indians and Tibetans fell into their trap to set up shell companies and open bank accounts for them. It has also been observed that Chinese managers are in possession of a large number of shell companies and bank accounts. Attracted by their offer, many innocent people fell into this trap.
The investigation team consisted of Krishna Kumar, police inspector; Nayaz Ahmed, police inspector; Mithun Shilpi, police inspector; Santosh Ram, police inspector; Tabrez, police inspector; Shivakumar, CHC; Vinod, CPC; Munitratna, CHC; Shafiulla CHC; and Shobha, WHC, the statement read.
A criminal case was registered under Section 66 (d) of the Information Technology Act and Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
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