A 45-year-old government servant from Thane lost a whopping Rs 1.63 crore to a fraudster who she had come in contact with on Instagram, in a con that continued for over five months.
The fraudster, who befriended the victim, had told her that he had been caught at the international airport in Delhi with 85,000 dollars and asked the victim to help him out. The victim in a span of five months paid as much as Rs 1.63 crore in 75 transactions in the various bank accounts provided by the accused. When the victim demanded more money, the victim informed her husband and realised that she had been duped.
According to the Tilak Nagar police in Dombivli, the complainant works as a junior administrative officer with a government department in Thane.
In February this year, the victim received a request on her Instagram from one Hams Michael, who claimed to be a United Kingdom citizen. The victim accepted the said request and for a month, the two had been regularly chatting with each other. The two had exchanged their WhatsApp numbers as well. Michael had told the victim that he wished to come to India for a tour and on March 21, the victim learnt that Michael had come to India.
"On that day, Michael had called the victim and had informed her that he had been arrested at the international airport in Delhi since he was carrying 85,000 dollars in cash, not having proper documents and not having taken a second COVID-19 vaccine. The accused then told the victim to help him out by paying money and he would soon return the money to her. Later, the accused and his associates claiming to be customs officials, then frightened the victim saying that she would be dragged into a money laundering probe and induced the victim to pay Rs 1.63 crore in a span of five months. The victim had also taken a loan in order to pay the money," said senior police inspector AK Abhale of Tilak Nagar (Dombivli) police station.
He added, "When the accused asked for more Rs 44 lakh from the victim, after which she confided in her husband and informed her about the ordeal. The couple then consulted a lawyer who informed them that they had been duped after which they approached the police and lodged a complaint on Saturday. We have registered a case on charges of acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention, cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property, identity theft and cheating by personation by using computer resource."