Bengaluru's Rs 854 Cr Cybercrime Saga: 2 Men, 1BHK House, 8 Phones, and 84 Accounts
Explore the shocking Bengaluru cybercrime bust, exposing a Rs 854 Cr fraud network, and its complex money laundering operation
In a shocking revelation, the Bengaluru Cyber Crime police recently uncovered a sprawling cybercrime operation that had defrauded thousands of people across India, siphoning off a staggering Rs 854 crore within just two years. The intricate web of deceit involved a 1BHK house in Bengaluru's Yelahanka district, two masterminds, eight active mobile phones, and 84 compromised bank accounts.
The trail leading to this criminal network began with a 26-year-old woman's complaint, alleging a loss of Rs 8.5 lakh. She had fallen victim to enticing promises of high returns on small investments made through a dubious app and a WhatsApp group. Her complaint eventually led the police straight to the doorstep of the two main culprits, Manoj Sreenivas, an MBA graduate, and Phanindra K, a software engineer.
Further investigations unveiled a convoluted scheme involving local operatives who facilitated the movement of funds between fake accounts and mule accounts. To maintain the illusion of authenticity, these operatives were instructed to keep eight mobile phones active around the clock. The laundered money was then channeled through gaming apps, cryptocurrency, and online casinos, making tracking incredibly challenging.
The scale of this fraud network was truly staggering, as it spanned across 5,103 cases nationwide, with 487 in Karnataka alone. While initial suspicions pointed towards connections with Chinese operatives, no concrete evidence linking them to this network has been discovered.
What's even more unsettling is that the funds swindled from unsuspecting victims were destined for international banks and foreign companies. This laundering process served to obscure the ill-gotten gains further.
WhatsApp and Telegram played pivotal roles in luring victims into the scam. Initially, individuals were coaxed into investing small amounts daily, with the promise of substantial profits.
The investigation also revealed that some of the fraud money had been invested in various ventures, including a casino, a resort, a garment factory, and software development.
While some of the key players have been apprehended, the main operators of this fraudulent network remain elusive, suspected to be based in Dubai, UAE, with no physical contact ever established between the local operatives and the masterminds.
This revelation underscores the need for heightened vigilance against cybercrime and a collective effort to combat these sophisticated operations. It is a stark reminder that online scams can take many forms, and individuals should exercise caution when encountering offers that seem too good to be true. The diligent work of the Bengaluru Cyber Crime police serves as a testament to the importance of investigative efforts in unearthing and dismantling criminal networks that prey on innocent victims.