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Cops bust scamster cabbie with 16 bank accounts

The police, on Thursday, arrested five persons - including a bank employee and a taxi driver with 16 bank accounts to his name - in a multi-crore scam. The arrested have been identified as Ramesh Rathod, Vinod Tiwari, Shishir Dev Mishra, Manoj Shinde and Anam Siddique. Police have also detained Amrit Mule - an employee of a reputed bank - in the case.

While Rathod is employed with a reputed bank, Tiwari is the taxi driver, who played the vital role of encashing forged cheques from across the city after depositing them into his various bank accounts.

Like Tiwari, Mishra - a carpenter by profession - also encashed cheques for the gang. Shinde and Siddique are middlemen who obtained blank cheques of wealthy businessmen and companies and handed them over to the group. The six were arrested after they tried encashing a stolen cheque at an Axis Bank branch in Koparkhairane.

The blank cheque had been reported stolen by the owners of Saree Enterprises in Powai. The scamsters - according to police - sought information from bank employee Mule about the balance in company’s account, and then filled in an amount of Rs 2.5 lakh and forged the requisite signatures on the cheque.

The cheque was deposited in Tiwari’s account, but the police swooped in on the group before it could be encashed. Police sources disclosed that the six men are part of a much larger network that has embezzled more than Rs 300 crore.

Investigating officers also believe that there are multiple modules involved in the scam; each having a different modus operandi. In October, the police had arrested six men in connection with the case, thus taking the total tally of those arrested to 12 with Thursday’s arrests.

“We suspect that this is just the tip of the iceberg and several more bank employees and scamsters are involved,” said API S N Bhandge, who is investigating the case. The earlier module busted by the Powai police involved an interrelated gang that deposited stolen cheques in bank accounts opened in fake names.

The gang first prepared fake identity cards like PAN card, voters ID, rations cards, etc, which were used to open bank accounts. The fake documents were also used to procure credit cards, whose bills were never paid.

“While the modus operandi is different, they are all connected,” Bhandge said. He elaborated that apart from using their bank accounts to deposit stolen cheques, the scamsters also lent the same accounts to others operating online UK lottery frauds and Nigerian SMS scams, for a small commission.

“The unsuspecting victims of lotteries and SMSes were given the same account numbers to deposit the money. Once the victim deposited the money, it was removed within seconds,” Bhandge said.

We suspect this is just the tip of the iceberg and several more bank employees and scamsters are involved - S N Bhandge, Asst Police Inspector

Source: Mumbai Mirror


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