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Illegal call centre busted, 54 people who cheated over 4,500 US citizens of 90-100cr arrested

By HT Correspondent, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON DEC 16, 2020 10:33 PM IST

In one of its biggest crackdowns on illegal call centres in Delhi, police on Wednesday arrested 54 people, nine of them women, operating a call centre from west Delhi’s Moti Nagar Industrial Area and said the gang had cheated about 4,500 foreign nationals of nearly 90-100 crore.

The arrested employees used to pose as the social security officials of the United States and dupe Americans of money after accusing them of being involved in criminal cases, police said. “They would ask their intended victim to transfer all his/her money to an e-wallet or be arrested and have their accounts frozen. The money, in the form of bitcoins, would then be siphoned off by the gang,” said a senior police officer involved in the investigation.

Police said the total amount defrauded thus from over 4,500 foreign nationals, mostly from the USA, is estimated to be around 90-100 crore, .

Deputy commissioner of police (cyber cell) Anyesh Roy said police have also found that the man who ran the call centre is an Indian based in Dubai. He has been identified only by his first name, Ashwani , and was known among his employees as Munshi.

Police have also found that Ashwani has a criminal history of betting in Delhi and had long ago fled to UAE. “Efforts are on to extradite him with the help of the ministry of external affairs,” Roy said.

With the arrest of the 54 employees of the call centre, Roy said they have also seized 89 desktops along with a server and more than 50 mobile phones. An elaborate written script that was used to dupe the foreigners has also been recovered,” the DCP said.

“Among the arrested employees, four are team leaders, identified as Gurmil Singh, Raunak, Jyotika and Yashpal. They disclosed that they would contact Americans in the US and other countries impersonating as officials from government agencies such as the social security administration, the drug enforcement administration (DEA), and the US Marshal Service. They would inform the targeted persons that their bank accounts and other assets are being frozen as their details have been found at a crime scene,” Roy said.

“Some of the targets were also told that there were bank accounts being used in their names through which illegal transactions have been made to drug cartels in Mexico and Colombia. They then threatened the targets that they could either get arrested and face legal action or go for an alternate dispute resolution (ADR) which would be faster and simpler,” he said.

“In the second option, which all the targets fell for, they were asked to share details of their assets, including bank accounts and the amount of money in those accounts. They were told that the only way to safeguard their assets is to buy bitcoins or gift cards and transfer the same to e-wallets in India. The bitcoins and gift cards once received were encashed here in India,” the officer said.

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