Mumbai Crime: Over 75 actors duped of Rs 1 crore by two fraudsters

Jan 12, 2019, 21:05 IST | Suraj Ojha

The accused posed as a director and a member of CINTAA on a website advertising that they wanted fresh faces for serials

Mumbai Crime: Over 75 actors duped of Rs 1 crore by two fraudsters

More than 75 aspiring actors and actresses were duped to the tune of Rs 1 crore by two scamsters, police said on Sunday. 

The duo identified as 24-year-old Avinash Arunkumar Sharma, a software engineer and his partner Vinod Bhandar, 30, was apprehended by the crime branch for falsely promising the victims roles in television series. The accused had even claimed to be the office bearers of Cine And TV Artistes' Association (CINTAA), said DCP Akbar Pathan.

According to the police, the alleged mastermind behind the scam was Sharma, who used to hunt for new aspiring actors and promise them a role in soap operas. While Vinod Bhandri would then explain the victims of the process to get the role.

Once the victims were convinced, both scamsters would ask for clips and profile pictures to send to the producer of the TV serials for selection. After some days, the fraudsters would then ask the victims to send money through online banking and Paytm saying that they have been selected for a role in the soap operas. They even sent offer letter through email to appear authentic casting agency.

At least 75 actors and actresses have been cheated by the fraudsters and a case was registered with the police. Mumbai Crime Branch deployed a team comprising Senior inspector Mahesh Desai, inspector Asha Korke and Assistant Police Inspector Sudhir Jadhav to nab the alleged fraudsters.

"We have also found Rs 10 lakh in Sharma's bank account, which will now be frozen," a crime branch officer said. "One of Sharma's friends is a casting director from whom he picked how to reach out to aspiring actors. Sharma used this process to con unsuspecting youngsters," the officer added.

The accused posed as a director and a member of CINTAA on a website advertising that they wanted fresh faces for serials. "Sharma would stay in touch with the victim through WhatsApp. He would disguise under different names such as Rakesh Gupta, Aditya Jain, Shruti Jain, and Roshni. While speaking to female victims, he would pose as a female," he said.

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