DEHRADUN: The Special Task Force (STF) of Uttarakhand Police has arrested the alleged mastermind behind a ₹21 crore fraud scheme that lured unsuspecting victims into a deceptive work-from-home offer. The accused, identified as Rushabh Sharma, hailing from Haryana, was apprehended by authorities after an extensive investigation. Sharma is believed to have orchestrated this elaborate fraud operation, linked to Chinese interests.
The case came to light when a complaint was registered at the Cyber Crime Police Station in Dehradun. The victim, who was searching for an online job, received a WhatsApp message from an unknown number, promising a work-from-home opportunity with Marriott Bonvoy Hotel. The victim was later contacted via the Telegram app by a person named Sonia, who claimed to be associated with the famous hotel group.
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Sonia enticed the victim with a scheme that initially involved earning commissions by booking hotels online. A website, “https://www.marriottwork.com,” was used to register the victim, and a Telegram group was set up using the link “https://t.me/+CSYSadhAdYk2NDII.” Subsequently, the victim was tasked with making various financial transactions, leading to the loss of a substantial sum of ₹19,94,853.
Legal Action and Investigation
A case was promptly registered under Section 420/120B of the Indian Penal Code and the Information Technology Act at the Cyber Crime Police Station in Dehradun.
After a meticulous technical investigation, the suspect was traced to Haryana, leading to a team being dispatched to the neighboring state for further inquiry. Following diligent efforts, the police arrested Rushabh Sharma, a 27-year-old resident of Gurgaon, Haryana, and seized his Realme mobile phone, which was allegedly used in the commission of the crimes.
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Uncovering a Vast Network
During the investigation, authorities discovered a complex web of fraudulent bank accounts linked to the accused. Various accounts with more than 85 complaints on the national portal were unearthed, collectively amounting to over ₹21 crore. These accounts were spread across different locations in Gujarat, Delhi NCR, and Punjab. The accused had also established dummy bank accounts for Chinese customers.
The perpetrators employed tactics such as generating fake GST and import-export registration numbers before opening the bank accounts. These accounts were mainly “CURRENT Accounts” with PAN cards used for account creation, and Aadhaar cards utilized for SMS alerts. Subsequently, they provided net banking credentials to foreign customers, enabling them to make cryptocurrency purchases and erase any money trails. Accounts under the guise of agricultural firms and societies were also opened to evade scrutiny.
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Extensive Criminal Network
The investigation further unveiled that Rushabh Sharma was involved in numerous criminal cases across the country, with 37 charges registered in 855 cases in various states and union territories. Some of the states affected include Telangana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Uttarakhand, Maharashtra, Haryana, and Karnataka, among others.
Additionally, the accused had established 855 criminal Telegram links across states, with a significant concentration in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Delhi, Telangana, and Bihar.
The evidence and information gathered will be shared with the respective states and union territories for further action.
Name of the Arrested Accused: Rushabh Sharma, son of Rajesh Sharma, resident of M.No. 735, Sector 9, Gurgaon, Haryana, aged 27.
This arrest serves as a significant blow to the perpetrators of this massive fraud scheme and highlights the importance of vigilance and reporting suspicious activities to prevent further victims from falling prey to such scams.