Mumbai crime: Fraudster who cheated Canadian, US citizens posing as tax official arrested

Updated: 03 September, 2020 09:15 IST | mid-day online correspondent | Mumbai

He is member of an international racket that has cheated many US and Canadian citizens of millions of dollars by posing as tax or immigration officials

Photo used for representational purpose
Photo used for representational purpose

A 30-year-old man has been arrested by the Criminal Intelligence Unit (CIU) of the Detection Crime Branch in Mumbai. The accused, identified as Nishikant S. Shirsikar, is a member of an international racket that has cheated many US and Canadian citizens of millions of dollars by posing as tax or immigration officials.

Acting on a specific tip-off, the CIU sleuths on the night of August 29 intercepted the Shirsikar in Malad (West). The CIU sleuths recovered Rs 5 lakh cash, gold biscuits worth Rs 10 lakh, a small quantity of ganja and cigarettes filled with ganja from his possession. A suspected stolen Yamaha two-wheeler was also seized.

An offence was registered at Bangurnagar police station under Sections 3, 4, 420 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), Section 124 of the Maharashtra Police Act and Sections 8 (C) and 20 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.

During the course of the investigation, it was found that Shirsikar is a key person in an international racket, which operates from various cities in India through certain call centres and also from their respective homes.

As part of the scam, individuals from call centres impersonate officials from the Internal Revenue Service or US Citizenship and Immigration Services in a ruse designed to defraud victims located throughout America and Canada.

Using information obtained from data brokers and other sources, these racketeers targeted people in the US and Canada who were threatened with arrest, imprisonment, fines or deportation if they did not pay the alleged money owed to the government.

Victims, who agreed to pay the scammers, were instructed on how to make the payment, including by purchasing stored value cards or wiring money.

Based on information obtained in Shirsikar's second round of interrogation, the CIU seized Rs 35 lakh and 200 gms of gold biscuits from his lockers in Axis Bank in Malad west, besides a two-wheeler which is suspected to be stolen.

Further investigations are underway with Shirsikar to unravel the tentacles of the entire operation, his accomplices operating in Mumbai and other parts of India, and the number of victims trapped by them in the huge scam, said the official.

He was produced before the court and remanded to Crime Branch custody till September 4.

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First Published: 03 September, 2020 08:29 IST

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