Striking a business deal with an unknown person whom he met on a popular social networking site Facebook (FB) cost a 54-year-old serviceman from Nallasopara, more than Rs 23 lakh in a span of less than two months.
In his statement to the police, the complainant who works as an artisan in a Malad-based beading and embroidery firm said that he came in contact with Hanna Nayas on FB in June-2020. Claiming to be a permanent citizen of Berkshire in England, Hannah said she worked as an assistant purchase manager with a reputed pharmaceutical company.
Soon the two exchanged mobile numbers and frequently chatted on instant messaging apps. After a few weeks, Hannah made a very lucrative offer. She told the complainant that their company buys natural herbal products in bulk from an Indian company based in Itanagar (Arunachal Pradesh) but for some reason, the company had decided to stop purchases from the dealer.
Hannah said that the products having medicinal value to cure asthma and epilepsy were available in India for Rs. 760 to Rs. 765 per packet and were sold to their company for 2800 dollars. With a promise of placing orders, Hannah struck a deal seeking 40 per cent of the profit proceeds. She also gave him a contact number of a woman, claiming that she would supply the products.
The complainant fell for the trap, established contact with the so-called supplier and transferred nearly Rs. 20 lakh through multiple online transactions to various bank accounts towards advance payment for the consignment which never arrived. However, the fraudsters did not stop here. Hannah once again called up the complainant to inform that the senior production manager of their company, James Logan, would be visiting India and give him 1,40,000 US dollars.
However, the complainant started receiving calls from people posing as airline and RBI officials seeking money for Logan’s release who was stopped for carrying a huge amount of foreign currency. The complainant complied and the encounter ended with him being cheated of another 3.96 lakh. An offence under section 420 of the IPC has been registered against six people at the Tulinj police station. However, the investigating officials have mysteriously refrained from slapping sections of the Information and Technology Act in the case.