New Delhi (PTI): Three African nationals along with an Indian woman have been arrested by Special Cell of Delhi Police for allegedly cheating prospective brides through popular matrimonial websites.
While claiming to have busted two such gangs, police has arrested Joseph Irabor Bhahemen, 26, and Bawo Hilary Omagbemi, 35, who are permanent residents of Nigeria, and Nagaland native Leniya Magh, 26. They all were presently residing in Gurgaon.
It said the gang had cheated a Hyderabad-based woman to the tune of Rs 48.75 lakh over the past few months after befriending her through a matrimonial website.
In another case, police arrested Nigerian national Henry Chima Anidebe, 30, who disclosed that other gang members were using ‘voice changers’ to modulate male voices into those of a woman to pose as a customs officer.
Deputy Commissioner of Police of Special Cell said the gang members were cheating innocent women through popular matrimonial websites and the victims have been identified from several parts of India including Delhi.
Police said the accused were using VoIP and other techniques to execute the cheating plan using an online services platform. According to the special cell, it received information about cheating of prospective brides who subscribed to these matrimonial portals.
The accused were looking for a suitable match by creating and operating fictitious profiles, posing themselves as wealthy NRIs working in highly remunerative professions abroad.
They were using foreign SIM cards including that of UK, US, but they were used from within India on international roaming to mask real locations and identities, police said.
In one such case, several persons, including a woman, were in touch with a Hyderabad woman from March on the basis of a fake identity of Dr Abhishek Mohan created on a matrimonial website.
Police said Mohan, showing himself to be an orthopaedic surgeon working with the United Nations and currently in Iraq on an assignment, had expressed interest to the victim for a matrimonial alliance.
The victim told the police that Mohan was a UK citizen of Indian origin and used to call her from UK and Indian numbers, which he used to tell as being on International roaming. He also used to talk to her over Viber.
After gaining trust of the victim, Mohan told the woman that his assignment was nearing completion and that he would be coming to India in April and before that, he would send the gold, jewels, medical equipment and some personal belongings at her address.
The parcel reached here on April 7 and the victim received a call from a “customs inspector” stating that she had to pay customs clearance fee for the parcel which was worth several crores. She spoke about it to Mohan over phone and he asked her to pay the fee and assured her that he would return her money upon arrival.
Police said that after this amount was paid, the person posing as customs inspector demanded more money on various grounds like “Money Laundering clearance, Anti-Terrorist Funding clearance” for which the victim kept on borrowing money from others and also availed loans and paid the amounts in various bank accounts stated to be belonging to custom agents as told by Mohan.
After depositing over Rs. 48 lakh, the woman again got a demand from a person posing as woman customs inspector for Rs. 75 lakh as a refundable tax. The woman realised that she was being cheated and got an FIR lodged at Cyber Crime Police Station of Hyderabad.
It said during investigation, it has been brought to notice that another similar website had also been used in similar manner.
Further arrests are likely in the matter and police in Hyderabad has been informed of the arrests, it said. Another cheating and fraud case has come to light and an FIR has been lodged at Chandni Mahal Police Station in Central Delhi.
In this case, the woman was contacted by one Alex Ramsey in March this year through a matrimonial website. He posed as a doctor with World Health Organization.
The modus operandi was similar and the victim was asked to deposit hefty money in a bank account by a person posing as customs officer.
She was again asked to deposit Rs. 86 lakh and she got suspicious about the whole affair and lodged an FIR with the police and the case was transferred to Special Cell. In this case, police arrested Henry Chima Anidebe who was produced and remanded to police custody by a court here.
Police have advised the people to be aware of such rackets being run to target innocent victims through ostensibly innocuous platforms.
It also said that the victims of such crimes should come forward and lodge complaint with the police so that offenders are prosecuted.