The quartet made false promises to supply gold at 10 per cent less than the market price, and also swindled steel merchants by decamping once the advance amount was paid

A woman and three of her associates, who allegedly duped businessmen of nearly Rs. 8.65 crore with false assurances, were arrested by the police on Wednesday.

Accused J. Aruna Reddy, 42, and her accomplices, Ch. Narsimha Reddy, 62, Syed Mumtaz Ahmed, 62, and Babu Chari, 40, had promised many businessmen gold at prices 10 per cent lesser than the prevailing market price. They had also cheated steel traders by purchasing huge quantities of steel for construction and evading payments later.

Ms. Reddy, who was employed as an attender at a defence organisation — a post she got on compassionate grounds following the death of her husband — lost her job, allegedly for involvement in financial frauds, Central Crime Station DCP L.K.V. Ranga Rao told reporters. She later began a consultancy for car loans but had to shut shop.

“The woman later met some businessmen claiming she had connections with gold traders who would supply gold for 10 per cent less than the market price,” the DCP said.

Modus operandi

Businessmen fell into her trap, paying her huge sums ranging from Rs. 50 lakh to Rs. 1 crore. She also won their confidence by showing them samples of gold-coated silver biscuits as pure gold. In a few other cases, Ms. Reddy also approached steel traders, wanting to purchase steel worth Rs. 1 lakh.

To win their confidence, she gave made a payment of Rs. 10 lakh instead of just Rs. 1 lakh. A few days later, she placed an order for steel worth Rs. 50 lakh.

“The gullible traders supplied the material, only to realise they were taken for a ride as she disappeared on selling the steel to other dealers,” police said.

The string of frauds did not stop there.

Ms. Reddy used to meet a few land owners posing as a prospective buyer, collect original documents in the guise of getting their veracity checked and avail loans by mortgaging the same documents, the police added.

More In: Hyderabad