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Gujarat conman inspired by film 'Catch Me If You Can' held

At least seven complaints of cheating and forgery were filed against Soni in Ahmedabd, two in Vadodara and six in Jaipur in Rajasthan, it said.

Published: 30th June 2020 03:30 PM  |   Last Updated: 30th June 2020 03:30 PM   |  A+A-

Handcuffs, arrest

For representational purposes

By PTI

AHMEDABAD: A 23-year-old man has been arrested here in Gujarat for allegedly cheating 15 different firms of at least Rs 50 lakh through forgery in the last four years, crime branch said on Tuesday.

The accused, Jay Soni, was inspired by Hollywood movie 'Catch Me If You Can' to commit the crime which involved forging documents and hiding his real identity to fraudulently withdraw money from banks, according to crime branch.

Soni was arrested on Monday after a detailed probe into his modus operandi which involved not leaving behind any clue about his real identity or whereabouts, said a release.

At least seven complaints of cheating and forgery were filed against Soni in Ahmedabd, two in Vadodara and six in Jaipur in Rajasthan, it said.

This is the first time since 2016 that Soni, who has allegedly siphoned off lakhs of rupees from bank accounts of companies where he used to work, has been picked up.

He has been involved in cheating of over Rs 50 lakh, the crime branch said.

"It all started in 2015 when Soni and his father Ramesh Soni watched the movie 'Catch Me If You Can', which was based on the life of American cheque forger and conman Frank Abagnale," the release said.

Soni is a native of Khedbrahma in Gujarat.  "Both Soni and his father studied in an English medium school. After watching the movie, they decided to make money using forged cheques. First, Soni learnt accounting and auditing. He then learnt basics of computer from YouTube and prepared a forged PAN card and Aadhaar card with a fake name and address using MS Paint application," it stated.

Soni purchased SIM cards with the help of the forged documents to open bank accounts, the release said, adding that his father had helped him in buying SIM cards.

Armed with a fake identity, Soni used to give interviews for the post of accountant or auditor.

"While working in office, Soni used to steal cheques and prepare duplicate stamps of the firm he is working for. He used to forge the signature of company proprietor and clear cheques in his own favour," the crime branch said.

Soni then used to transfer that money into other bank accounts or mobile wallets. He would resign after committing the crime, it said.

Since he used to submit forged documents and ID proofs, police often could not identify or trace him despite collecting information from his employers and banks.

After a thorough investigation, crime branch officials finally located him to his residence in Udaipur in neighbouring Rajasthan.

He was kept under watch and was arrested as soon as he landed in Ahmedabad for a job interview, the release said. Soni's father had been arrested in 2003 by city police for selling stolen vehicles.

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