The scope of Bitcoin mining scam unearthed by the Matunga police continued to widen with almost 700 people found to be duped to the tune of ₹228 crore across the country, said police on Monday. The entire conspiracy was premeditated and operated from Dubai and China and it's operations were wrapped up in the span of just 15 days.
According to the police the entire operation of actually duping people were started in the first week of January when they sent bulk messages to over a crore people luring them with lucrative investments offers and in next 15 days entire operation was stopped when they withdrew all the money from different bank accounts across the country.
However the infrastructure for the fraud was being built over three months period including opening of bank accounts in the name of shell companies and also launching different investments apps.
By the times different police agencies got hint of it and started blocking bank accounts link to the scam, all the accounts were already emptied.
"Earlier we believed that people have been duped on the pretext of investments into crypto currency mining however the fraudsters have also lured people with ponzi schemes and related apps were also launched in the open sourse platforms," said PSI Rajabhau Garad.
On Monday Navi Mumbai police officials approached the Matunga police after coming across a case of multiple people from a housing society duped on the pretext or investing into multilayer marketing schemes. Interestingly the victim's money was transferred to same bank account from Delhi which was identifed by the Matunga police in their case with transaction of ₹189 crore in the span of a month. The company is listed as a trading company.
The police have identifed around 35 accounts which were used in the scam, in five main accounts victim's money was deposited including a bank account from Delhi which was registered in the name of a trading company. While rest of the accounts were used to distribute money from which the Indian accomplices of the mastermind withdrew it later. The money was later sent across the border through hawala channels, said police.
The Matunga police came across the case while investigating a case of a teacher who was duped to the tune of ₹2.47 lakh on the pretext of investing into Bitcoin mining.
In the case, police arrested one Mohammad Jabir, 31 from Bangaluru who received teacher's money in his account. In Jabir's account total ₹71 lakh had been deposited of which he kept ₹12 lakh and passed rest of money to one Imran Riyaz who is at large. In Riyaz's account seperate transaction of ₹84 lakh have been reflected which he had already withdrew.
Riyaz had transferred the money to one Jimmy a key person in the case also a suspected link to Dubai, said police.
The entire scam was suspected to be operated from Dubai and China as IP (internet protocol) addresses of WhatsApp number, Instagram accounts and email IDs link with the banks were all operated from Dubai and China, said police.
To unearth the entire scam remained a challenged to police due to involvement of foreign links, added an another officer.