A total of Rs.67.43 crore has been recovered out of Rs.259 crore worth of property lost by people to fraudsters in the last 13 months in Chennai. Police have arrested 598 people in connection with various white-collar crimes, including land grabbing, bank fraud and entrustment and document frauds reported here.

Central Crime Branch sources say the arrests made and the property recovered, especially in entrustment and document frauds, bank fraud and cyber crime (overall Rs. 10.55 crore), in the last one year are record figures. While 395 cases were solved, 159 remain undetected owing to lack of evidence and false complaints.

According to Deputy Commissioner of Police (CCB) C. Sridhar, the ‘prize catch' came last October when a fake credit card racket operating in Chennai that cheated merchants across Tamil Nadu of over Rs.1 crore was busted. The gang's kingpin Umesh alias Jaatti (25), a Sri Lankan national and marine engineer settled in Canada, was apprehended by a special CCB team at Porur on October 23, 2009. His accomplices Vijayakanth (29), also a Sri Lankan national and some local merchants were arrested later in December.

The gang is known to have acquired stolen credit card details for $50 per card data through CDs, phone, email and even SMS from their overseas agents.

“Usually, foreign credit cards will not work here as they are blocked for international usage. The blockage is lifted upon request by the customer, especially during festival seasons or in case of overseas travel. Shockingly, the gang was aware of the time when the blockage was lifted for a series of credit cards and acquired confidential data from the agents. They printed fake cards in Chennai with the data and used it to make purchases before they were nabbed by our team,” said Mr. Sridhar.

Over 500 fake credit cards, plain cards purchased from Malaysia for printing, a Chinese-made embossing machine, fake ID cards, electronic data capturing (EDC) machines, encoding and decoding device and stolen credit card data were seized by the police.

CCB statistics recorded between July 1, 2009 and May 30, 2010 show that 643 cases had been registered and 543 accused arrested, including 110 for cheating, 53 for land grabbing, 31 for job racketeering, 50 for bank fraud and 229 for copyright violation.

Nearly Rs.40 crore worth of property was recovered from land grabbing cases and Rs.16.04 crore from video piracy. Twenty white-collar criminals were booked under the Goondas Act, which includes 15 copyright violators.

A total of 1,219 cases are under investigation and 2,152 cases are pending trial. In June, 55 accused were arrested for offences, including credit card frauds, video piracy and forged land documents.

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Petlee PeterJune 28, 2012

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