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Navi Mumbai: Scamster 'proposes' marriage to woman; defrauds her of Rs 29 lakh

Updated on: 11 July,2024 12:09 PM IST  |  Navi Mumbai
Faisal Tandel |

The elaborate scam began in June 2023 through social media, police said & added that the Navi Mumbai woman was first contacted through LinkedIn.

Navi Mumbai: Scamster 'proposes' marriage to woman; defrauds her of Rs 29 lakh

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Navi Mumbai: Scamster 'proposes' marriage to woman; defrauds her of Rs 29 lakh

A Navi Mumbai woman was allegedly defrauded of Rs 29 lakhs by a scamster pretending to be one Dr Jesus Centeno, a Spanish surgeon. The elaborate scam began in June 2023 through LinkedIn, the police said and added that the woman was first contacted through the business and employment-focused social media platform.

Police sources said that their conversation swiftly shifted to WhatsApp where Centeno discussed his life and being a single father in Ireland. Over a year, the scamster and the Navi Mumbai resident's relationship evolved with the former proposing marriage and expressing a wish to reside in India. 

Centeno informed the Navi Mumbai woman in May 2024 that he planned to marry her in India; following that on June 11, she received a call from one Rakesh Sharma, who identified himself as a Customs officer at Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi (IGI) and claimed that Centeno and his son had been detained for carrying USD 8,00,000 in cash. The woman was told that she would have to make several transfers to secure their release. 

The Navi Mumbai woman, in a state of panic and concern for Centeno and his seven-year-old son, consented to pay. Taking advantage of her vulnerable state, the fraudster first demanded Rs 72,000 and a series of payments ensued, under various pretexts including anti-money laundering certificates, totalling Rs 29 lakhs, FIR stated. Despite meeting all requests, she received no confirmation of Centeno's release or the promised cash. 

Suspecting foul play, she contacted Advocate Vivek Sharma and with his assistance, she filed a First Information Report (FIR) at the Cyber police station in Navi Mumbai's Nerul. Timely intervention resulted in freezing a portion of the partial amount transferred to one of the fraudulent bank accounts, raising optimism that the other looted funds could be recovered.

The Navi Mumbai woman provided extensive documentation to back up her claims, including screenshots of LinkedIn profiles, bank statements, and forged documents from the scammer, such as an order from the Delhi High Court, letters from International Monetary Funds, letters from the Ministry of Finance, and emails from Standard Chartered Bank. The police have launched an investigation to identify and arrest the perpetrators of this con.

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