A 39-year-old woman who allegedly duped businessmen by posing as a British national and promising huge investments in their already running business ventures has been arrested here.
The woman, identified as Theresa Jovita D’souza, is a native of Goa. She even used fake letters in the name of institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and the Reserve Bank to convince the victims about the scheme, promising heavy returns.
On November 27, Andhra Pradesh-based granite businessman P. Rahmatullah lodged a complaint with the Economic Offences Wing of Delhi Police saying he had received several e-mails from a Johnson Mallon, who claimed to be a British citizen.
“In the e-mail, Johnson expressed interest in becoming Mr. Rahmatullah’s business partner in India. Johnson and Theresa, who posed as his Rhea Jannet Mallon, met the victim’s sons at Ashoka Hotel in Delhi. At the meeting, they promised huge investments in the granite business,” said a senior police official.
The police said Mr. Rahmatullah also financed Johnson’s trip to his factory located in the Adoni district of Andhra Pradesh.
“During their meetings with the victim, the accused purportedly told him that their money, a sum of $8,00,000 [over Rs. 4 crore], was stuck in the IMF in Delhi and that they intended to invest part of the same money in the complainant’s business,” the official said.
The accused sought Rs.10 lakh from the complainant in order to get clearance from the IMF. The victim transferred Rs.9 lakh to two bank accounts. During this period, he also received e-mails and calls purportedly from the IMF and RBI, informing him about the clearance awaited for the couple’s money and asking him to transfer another Rs.1.20 lakh for further clearance.
“At this, the complainant got suspicious and verified the authenticity of the e-mails with the RBI in New Delhi and found that the said e-mails from the RBI and IMF received by him were bogus,” said the official.
During this entire process, the accused kept pressurising the complainant to transfer Rs.1.20 lakh for clearance from the RBI and asked Mr. Rahmatullah to come to a hotel in Paharganj to deliver the money.
After discovering that the e-mails were bogus, the victim lodged a complaint, said the police. A trap was laid at Paharganj to arrest both the accused. However, only Rhea showed up on the fixed date and was arrested.
During interrogation, she purportedly revealed her true identity and told the police that her accomplice was from Africa and not Britain.
A scrutiny of her passport revealed her that she has visited a number of countries, including Nigeria, Cambodia and Vietnam. The search for the other persons involved in the case is on. Teresa’s original passport, a copy of a letter written purportedly by the IMF and several cheque books have also been recovered, said the police.