China-based online money laundering racketeering using cryptocurrencies exposed: cops

Uttarakhand Police say they dismantled racket online suspected of cheating at least ₹250cr from unsuspecting investors by promising to double their money in 15 days but siphoning it out of India instead by converting it into cryptocurrency.

A Pawan Kumar Pandey, accused of running a shadow company to transfer the fraudulent money to his so-called “managers in China”, was arrested Monday evening in Noida in the Gautam Buddh Nagar district of Uttar Pradesh, announced the police. 19 laptops, 592 SIM cards, 5 cell phones, 4 ATM cards and a passport were also recovered.

Uttarakhand Police Chief (DGP) Ashok Kumar said the racketeering came under scrutiny following a complaint by two Haridwar residents: Rohit Kumar and Rahul Kumar Goyal.

“A week ago, they claimed that a friend of theirs told them about a mobile app on Google Play Store called Power Bank, which doubled the return on investment in 15 days. Believer, they downloaded the app and filed ₹91,200 and ₹73,000, ”Kumar said.

However, when they received no feedback, even after a month, they realized they had been duped, he added.

“An investigation was launched by the special task force which discovered that the mobile application in question was available on the Google Play Store between February 2021 and May 12, 2021, during which time it was downloaded by at least 50 lakhs. He also found that the money deposited via the application was then transferred to the bank accounts of the arrested defendants via payment gateways, ”the police officer said. He added that the money was then converted into cryptocurrencies.

“During the cybercrime investigation, the app was linked to China, where Pandey’s managers are located. They used to cash cryptocurrencies in their local currency to end the chain of money laundering, which started out by fooling Indians through the app, ”Kumar said.

Uttarakhand Assistant Inspector General (Law and Order) Nilesh Bharne, who was one of the investigators, said: India. “

“Also in this case, they teamed up with Pandey and used her identity documents to register a shadow company with the Registrar of Companies (RoC) and to open two bank accounts, where the money embezzled from the victims was deposited. . They opened a ghost company in Noida called Purple Hui Zing Zihao. Pandey was registered as the owner of the business and the company was touted as the developer of the fraudulent app, ”Bharne said.

Pandey said the bank accounts and the company were managed remotely by the Chinese defendant while he received a commission from them.

“He was paid ₹1.50 lakh by the Chinese as “salary”. He (…) also told the police that there were many other similar apps operated by his managers (…) using the same modus operandi, “Bharne said, adding that the accused had initially dubbed a few investments to gain the confidence of potential investors.

The senior police officer said the police now have a list of 25 similar apps available on the Google Play Store.

“We have taken at least 20 of these ghost companies under our radar for suspected fraudulent activity like the one mentioned above. We have received 20 other similar complaints from state officials and they [the complaints] are under investigation, ”he said.

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