The Economic Offenses Wing (EOW) of the Odisha Police has arrested two persons from West Bengal for their alleged involvement in a Ponzi scheme, where the amount defrauded by them may exceed ₹ 1,000 crore.
About 800 investors from Odisha’s Ganjam district filed a complaint that they had invested in 18football.com, an online Ponzi scheme (multi-level marketing) operating under the name of a football betting or gaming application. was given, and they were deceived.
The two accused have been identified as Rustam Khan and Muhammad Hakeem, directors of a ‘shell’ company – Hakeem and Rustam Fabrics Private Limited, Kolkata.
“Investors were promised lucrative benefits like 3% daily compound return on investment, recharge bonus, referral bonus, additional bonus on downline members’ earnings and salary bonus with daily withdrawal option,” J. Narayan Pankaj, Inspector General of India said. Head of Police and EOW.
According to the procedure disclosed by the EOW, investors had to create an account with ’18football.com’ either through an application or through an offline referral link, and were asked to sign up on the website or app. Bet on some of the football matches mentioned.
Investors were also provided with so-called foreign ‘advisors’ to help them make bets while patrons communicated only through Telegram or apps, the investigative agency said.
The agency said, “To promote and attract the innocent public, the fraudsters were carrying out some promotional activities like social works and charity works in the rural areas and promoting it heavily so that people mistook the scheme for a reputable organization.” Understand.” .
According to the EOW, the fraudsters initially paid the promised returns to investors for a few days, but at a later stage when membership increased, they stopped making any payments and ’18football.com’ Closed the app.
Investigation revealed that the fraudsters used several shell companies or firms and their directors to transfer the ill-gotten gains.
“They also used mule accounts for multilateral transactions of money to confuse the law enforcement agencies. One of the companies was Kolkata-based Hakeem & Rustam Fabrics Pvt Ltd, which had two arrested fraudsters as directors. had admitted to receiving a small amount of commission for running this shell company,” Mr. Pankaj said.
The accused admitted that they used to order from a person named Sheikh Saifi from Dubai. Out of 150 bank accounts involved in this racket, EOW has analyzed 17 accounts till date. Transactions worth Rs 108 crore have already been traced. It is suspected that the amount involved in this scam could be more than Rs 1000 crore.
Investigators suspected it was a huge international scam because the website was registered in Hong Kong, but operated from Dubai. The EOW will involve other law enforcement agencies of the Center and other state governments to bust the scam.