Hyderabad becoming base for the opening of bank accounts for 'money mules', who transfer illegally funds to fraudsters, unware that it is ill-gotten

All these days, Nigerians had been targeting southern cities like Hyderabad to dupe the gullible by luring them with lottery prizes, job opportunities and business deals. Now, they are making Hyderabad the base to open accounts for the money mules — persons transferring illegally obtained money to the fraudsters often unaware that it is ill-gotten.

The arrest of two private employees hailing from Uttar Pradesh — Manish Tiwari and Dharmendra Kumar — by the Hyderabad Detective Department Cyber Crime unit four days ago confirmed this. A gang of Nigerians based in Delhi sent the duo here telling them that they were well connected to powerful politicians from whom they were expecting huge funds in some transactions. The duo was told by the gang to open accounts in different banks in Hyderabad and send the debit cards to them, for which they were promised a commission.

Congratulatory messages

Tiwari and Kumar rented a house in the city. Using copy of the rental agreement and their driving licences, they secured a landline telephone connection. Using all these documents, the duo opened 32 accounts with different banks. No Nigerian fraud can be committed without a bank account. The cheats manage to collect email IDs and mobile phone numbers of thousands of individuals. Emails and text messages congratulating the receivers “for being selected crores of rupees worth lottery prizes or jobs abroad” are sent.

The tricksters ask them to deposit money in specified bank accounts to “receive the lottery prize or appointment letter”. Many people fall in the trap believing it to be a genuine offer “because the person is asking to deposit or transfer money to a bank account”.

“They also believe that the bank account holder can be caught in case of any cheating, but the trick is the account belongs to money mules like Tiwari and Kumar not connected to the kingpin,” the Inspector said.

In the present case, nearly Rs. 92 lakh was transferred to the 32 accounts from victims hailing from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Delhi.

So far, many people from Andhra Pradesh have fallen prey to Nigerian fraudsters. The case of Tiwari and Kumar shows that now they are using Hyderabad to create money mule accounts.

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