Doctor, businessman lose Rs 69 lakh in investment scam

The victims, who were unaware of the fact that the trades on the app were simulations, were urged not to withdraw the money as they “could trade and reinvest in IPO freely'
Last Updated : 24 April 2024, 01:55 IST
Last Updated : 24 April 2024, 01:55 IST

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A doctor and a businessman in eastern Bengaluru lost a combined Rs 69.40 lakh after investing in a fraudulent scheme. Although both cases were separate, according to the victims’ statements, they were conned by the same man named Rajiv Ambani.

Ramesh K (name changed), a 46-year-old businessman, was contacted by Ambani on WhatsApp on March 27, while Shankar D (name changed), 42, received the message on April 16. Ramesh lost Rs 15.70 lakh and Shankar lost Rs 53.70 lakh, they told the police.

The suspect introduced himself to the duo as Rajiv Ambani, Executive Director and President (Management and Strategy) of ICICI Equities. Both Ramesh and Shankar then downloaded an app called ““ICICI Securities” at the scamster’s behest after he shared the links on WhatsApp.

“I downloaded the application and started to trade and invest. On the first day, I invested Rs 50,000 and received a return of Rs 61,000, including the invested amount. Further, I increased to Rs 2,50,000 and kept adding in investment up to Rs.14.46 lakh,” Ramesh alleged in his complaint.

In Shankar’s case, his first investment was Rs 45,000. “I received a return of Rs 51,000 (including the invested amount). It was then increased to Rs 2,50,000, and I kept adding in investment up to Rs.39.75 lakh.”

The money was transferred to the bank accounts given by the suspect. The victims, who were unaware of the fact that the trades on the app were simulations, were urged not to withdraw the money as they “could trade and reinvest in IPO freely by keeping the balance in the application itself and withdraw the money later by paying a 15% tax.”

Ramesh and Shankar raised a withdrawal request on April 17 and paid Rs 1.23 lakh and Rs 13.95 lakh, respectively, as tax. Their withdrawal request was rejected and they were told to wait for a “few more days to yield more returns”. The duo suspected it to be a fraud when they were urged to “invest more and pay taxes for withdrawal”.

Separate cases were registered by the police on April 20 under the IT Act and the IPC, and investigations are ongoing.

Well-planned ruse

In both cases, the victims said they looked up Rajiv Ambani on Google and found websites showing his alleged affiliation with ICICI. When DH looked up the name, it found two websites: www.gjybnnmonmkd.com and rajiv.shanghailvhua.com. The first website was registered by someone from China, as per a domain lookup tool, while no information was available about the second.

Both websites had a profile of the suspect and claimed he was affiliated with the Ambani family. The profile claimed that he was a seasoned investor. Interestingly, the websites used a photo of a man wearing a suit and claimed him to be Ambani. When DH ran a reverse image search, it found that it was a stock photo from Getty Images titled “Senior man at home.”

Fake promises

The victims were advised to keep their money in the app to freely trade and reinvest. They paid taxes on their supposed earnings to facilitate withdrawals which were later denied. Both victims’ withdrawal requests were rejected and they were encouraged to invest more under the pretext of increasing returns. Suspicions of fraud arose when they were continually prompted to invest more and pay additional taxes for withdrawals.

Published 24 April 2024, 01:55 IST

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