KOCHI: Like many, Justin James, a native of Pattazhi near Kottarakkara, dreamt of getting an overseas job after completing his diploma course in fire and safety. However, he jumped into another field, quite unfamiliar to him, to make a fast buck after falling prey to a job fraud racket which duped people of lakhs of rupees by promising overseas job visas a couple of years ago.
His harrowing experience made him an “expert” in duping job aspirants, according to the police. Thirty-year-old Justin, who is currently lodged in Kakkanad district jail, is suspected to have cheated people in 12 districts in the state of more than Rs 50 lakh over the past three years. He was arrested by the Central police on Monday for allegedly cheating a Paravoor native by offering him a job in the UK Royal Carribean ship. He advertised the jobs via OLX and duped the job aspirant of Rs 2 lakh.
“He had fallen for a similar fraud in the past and from this experience, he adopted the same method to cheat other job aspirants. Justin lost money after falling prey to a racket in Pathanamthitta a couple of years ago. Then, he ran a firm near DP World here. After a victim lodged a complaint against him for duping him of Rs 2 lakh by offering a visa for a non-existent job position, he went into hiding. We managed to arrest him from a city hotel after tracking his phone tower location on April 28,” said Mulavukad Inspector of Police Sunil Raj.
After his arrest, 12 more people approached the Mulavukad police with complaints. Justin was put behind bars in this case and was released on bail on the orders of the High Court but was later arrested by the Panangad police on similar charges. Explaining his modus operandi, police officers said he used to trap victims by giving online advertisements promising job visas in the fire and safety sector abroad.
“Though he was a fire and safety diploma holder, he didn’t try to get a job but operated a job fraud and duped lakhs of rupees. If any of his victims created a scene demanding money, he used to return it and settle it making sure that the complaint didn’t reach the police,” said a police officer.
He lived in hiding in big hotels in Kozhikode, Palakkad and outside the state paying `4,000-5,000 room rent per day and often changed his mobile phone number to hoodwink the cops. It was after about a month’s efforts the Mulavukad police team led by Sunil Raj arrested him from a hotel near the KSRTC bus station in the city.
“We tracked the mobile tower location of his associate, Noushad. Tracing it, we found that he had phone conversations with Justin. On interrogation, Noushad confessed that Justin was staying in the same hotel and we arrested him,” said Sunil Raj.