In one of its biggest financial crackdowns, the Delhi Police busted an elaborate money-laundering scam run by Chinese nationals. Eleven people, including 2 CAs, have been arrested for duping over five lakh people by running bogus apps which promised high monetary returns.
Apps like Power Bank, Sun Factory, EZ Plan were run by Chinese nationals using the multi-level marketing (MLM) model. Rs 11 crores have been frozen in banks and Rs 97 lakhs in cash, along with 30 mobile phones recovered so far, the Cyber Preventation Awareness Detection (CyPAD) of Delhi Police said.
“These apps offered lucrative returns on investment with claims to double the investment amount in 24-35 days. They also had schemes promising returns on an hourly and daily basis, and had investment options starting from Rs 300 to several lakhs,” Delhi Police said.
DCP Anyesh Roy said that the cybercrime cell had taken note of various social media posts about the apps Power Bank and EZPlan.
"EZPlan was available on the website www.ezplan.in. The Power Bank app projected itself as a Bengaluru-based Technology Start-Up involved in quick-charging technology, in a bid to deceive people. However, the server on which the app was hosted was found to be based in China," DCP Roy said.
In order to lure a large number of people to invest more, small payout amounting to 5-10 percent of the invested money was given to them. Once people believed in these ‘schemes’, they began investing more money and also involved their friends and relatives. Once a large amount was invested by someone, the account was blocked, and that lead to severe financial losses, reported the Times of India.
The Chinese masterminds behind this scam used to randomly contact people through apps like WhatsApp and Telegram. They also hired people in West Bengal, NCR, Bengaluru, Odisha, Assam, and Surat to obtain bogus bank accounts, creating shell companies, circulating and promoting the apps, and transferring money.