The fraudster had used the profile to cheat several of the actor’s friends and fans by getting them to give him money

A 22-year-old man, who created a Facebook account using the name of young Tamil actor Shantnu Bhagyaraj and cheated the actor’s friends and fans into giving him money, has been arrested by the cyber crime team of the central crime branch (CCB).

The actor had lodged a police complaint on May 28, after a film director contacted the fraudster by mistake and spoke to him about a script.

CCB officers said the suspect Riyaz Khan, a customer service executive with Tata Sky in Jafferkhanpet, had logged on to Facebook a few months ago and stumbled upon the original profile of actor Shantnu.

“The actor had posted photographs and movie stills which Khan copied and used to create a fake page of the actor, using a slightly different spelling – ‘Shantanu’. Khan then used the chat option and contacted Shantnu’s fans, pretending to be the actor and said that he was struggling to make ends meet as his movies had flopped,” said A. John Rose, assistant commissioner, cyber crime team, CCB.

A city-based woman student, who spoke to Khan on Facebook, gave him Rs. 10,000 thinking he was the actor. Khan met the woman at her college, pretending to be Shantnu’s friend, and collected the money telling the woman that it was for the actor.

Khan also cheated a few other fans and even managed to get a few of them to recharge his mobile phone, Mr. Rose said.

Soon after the complaint was filed, Khan read media reports about it, and fled to his hometown, Venjaramoodu in Thiruvananthapuram.

About a month later, while the probe was still underway, Khan returned to Chennai. He was apprehended by the police from his office on Monday morning, Mr. Rose said.

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