Call centre mastermind Sagar Thakkar alias Shaggy had gone to Dubai at least thrice to set up an IT venture before the Thane police busted his scam in October last year.
A senior Thane police official said on Monday that Shaggy went to Dubai in June last year for the first time to start an IT firm there.
This was followed by two more visits in August and September. “He finally managed to start a small firm, Phoenix IT Infracture, by partnering with a UAE citizen, Abdulla,” said the officer.
He rented a small house in a down-market area of Dubai, ostensibly to provide IT solutions to companies in India. The police, however, believe that the firm was set up to launder earnings made from the IRS scam in the US to India.
The police have found that a small apartment was booked in the vicinity of the office to be used as guest house for employees.
“It was in this apartment that Shaggy lived after he fled from India following the raids at his Mira Road call centre on October 4 last year,” the officer said.
According to the police, Shaggy learned the tricks of converting personal data into an enterprise over the internet soon after he graduated from the MG Science Institute in Ahmedabad.
“He dabbled in generating data about prospective clients for law firms in the United States,” the Thane police officer said. He added that Shaggy befriended a US national, identified as Jerry Morris, over the internet for remittance of his earnings in that country.
“Morris would encash the payments made by Shaggy’s clients in the US through Green Dot Money Pack Codes and send the money through Western Union money transfer after keeping his commission,” said the officer.
He used his earnings to begin the more profitable but vicious business of fake call centres to make threatening calls to taxpayers in the United States by masquerading as Internal Revenue Service (IRS) officials and coercing them into paying up.
The police have now launched a hunt to trace the person who helped Shaggy encash the iTunes cards and bitcoins procured through the IRS scam in India.
“Shaggy has erased information about his contacts and money trails by deleting his e-mails and call records. While we are trying to retrieve the data, we have identified his aides. They will be nabbed soon,” the official added.