International loan racket busted
By Express News Service | Published: 24th December 2012 08:41 AM |
Sleuths of the Central Crime Station on Sunday busted an international loan racket with the arrest of six persons who targeted applicants to banks and financial agencies in the US and UK for loans.
The kingpin, a city realtor, roped in his Dubai-based friend and others and duped people who were mostly from the US and UK.
The racketeers, who had studied just up to Tenth Standard or Intermediate, set up five offices in the city, recruited highly-qualified persons as their employees and committed fraud running into several crores of rupees.
The realtor, Atiq Abbas alias Laddu of Azampura in the old city, dejected over the slump in real estate business, joined hands with Syed Abdul Basith, who returned from Dubai in 2010 after working there for several years. The duo then came in contact with Simran Veer Singh of Delhi, and all the three decided to invest in software- related business and invested nearly Rs 80 lakh in it.
They took an office on a rent of Rs 1 lakh an ran it for more than a year but the business ran into huge losses. “Having lost the money they thought that they had to tread the wrong path to earn money and Veer Singh told them how to make easy money,’’ a CCS officer said.
Similar to the Nigerian online fraud, the accused decided to dupe loan applicants from the US and UK. Sources said they used to ‘purchase’ information about the loan applications from those countries through their agents. “The accused hack or obtain the data of the applicants there in connivance with the agents there. The information used to come to Delhi and Pune initially and from there it used to be transferred to the city,’’ city police commissioner Anurag Sharma said.
The data include the applicant’s name, middle name, surname, bank account details, sort code and others.
According to officials, the accused hired highly qualified youngsters, some of them engineering graduates, as their employees and gave them a week’s training. The accused used to call the applicants in the name of ‘Today Loans’ firm and convince the applicants that their loan would be sanctioned.
“The calls were routed through VOIP and the unsuspecting applicants considered them to be a local number and fell in the trap,’’ the sources said.
The applicants were asked to deposit 120 to 210 pounds for a loan of 1,000 to 10,000 pounds and in dollars in case the applicant is US-based. “The applicants were asked to deposit the first instalment with the promise that the loan amount would be credited to their account within 30 minutes. Even after the amount was paid, the loan amount was not paid,’’ Hyderabad Police Commissioner Anurag Sharma said.
When the applicant calls again, he would be told that his credit rating is low and was asked to pay more tax amount. In this way, they used to collect some fee or the other till the applicant gets to know that he is duped,’’ the CP said.
The accused were getting 30,000-40,000 pounds per month on their UK operations and more than $ 1.50 lakh per month from the US operation. The employees are paid Rs 15,000-Rs 50,000 as salary and an incentive of `2 for $1.
The accused have opened five offices (at Basheerbagh, Malakpet, Saifabad, Somajiguda and Banjara Hills) in the city and about 20 persons were employed in each office. “The employees spoke in fluent western-accent English to convince the loan applicants,’’ officials said.
They committed the fraud for one-and-a-half years and made a business of Rs 1 crore out of their Basheerbagh office in six months.
Police arrested Abbas and Basith, along with B Niranjan Reddy of Bangalore, Faheem Akthar of Malakpet, Mohd Daulta Khan of Chanchalguda and Syed Susrath of Chanchalguda, and seized Rs 90,000 in cash and two cars. Police also recovered computer hard discs and are investigating as to the exact amount the accused have cheated.
With the help of the phone numbers available, police contacted some of the applicants and they confirmed that they had been cheated. Since there were no complaints, the CCS on its own lodged a complaint. “The employees knew that they were into illegal activity. They would be made witnesses in the case,’’ an officer said.