BENGALURU: A bank manager and two others have been arrested in Bengaluru on suspicion of defrauding a city woman. The three were allegedly working for a Hong Kong-based man who set up finance companies, collected money from unsuspecting individuals through app-based investment plans, and then duped them. One of the arrested individuals, along with the Hong Kong resident, had previously been linked to an instant online loan network.
After the woman filed a complaint alleging that she had been duped by the investment app, the accused — Ashok Kumar, K Sanjeev Kumar, and Asim Akhtar — were arrested by Rachakonda police’s cybercrime wing. According to the complaint, she spent Rs 20 lakh and was assured a return of over Rs 54 lakh.
“In March, the victim received a WhatsApp message from a Hong Kong-based number describing an investment and online trading app that would allow her to make huge daily profits. They sent her a connection to download an app,” Rachakonda police said.
Later, under the guise of a recharge via the app, the accused took Rs 500 from her and added her to the Strategy Team WhatsApp community. The group admins’ cellphones were discovered to be from Hong Kong. She initially invested Rs 50,000 by expressing an interest in the trading market.
“The accused provoked and enticed the victim to spend more money in the hopes of making a large profit. The victim spent Rs 20 lakh in the hope of getting a better return by making multiple transactions via the app, which revealed she had a total balance of Rs 54.39 lakh after a period of time,” police said.
The woman realised she had been duped when she tried to withdraw the money. During the investigation, police discovered that one of the bank accounts into which the money was transferred was located in Bengaluru. Three people were detained.
During the investigation, police discovered that Ashok had entered a Hong Kong-based instant online loan company run by Scott Wang. Wang had delegated control of his local office to Ashok. Employees were then hired to recover loans from creditors.
The arrested had worked as freelancers for Wang, assisting him in registering newly acquired companies with the Registrar of Companies (RoC) and other departments, as well as opening bank accounts. The accused allegedly opened 15 fake businesses, whose banking credentials were shared with Wang, who would then collect the money invested by the scam victims.