Online loan app gangs invested money in cryptocurrency trading, say police

‘The operators opened fake accounts in multiple banks and used them for doling illegal business transactions’

September 21, 2022 08:09 pm | Updated September 22, 2022 09:35 am IST - VIJAYAWADA

Superintendent of Police P. Joshua producing the accused in loan app case before the media in Machilipatnam.

Superintendent of Police P. Joshua producing the accused in loan app case before the media in Machilipatnam. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The Krishna district police, which busted the illegal operations of Maharashtra-based online loan apps, have said that the fraudsters were operating by opening fake accounts in multiple banks and investing in cryptocurrency trading.

The agents of the loan apps had been allegedly harassing those who took loans but failed to repay. They had been allegedly sending morphed nude photographs, vulgar and insulting messages to the loan defaulters and their kin.

“Acting on a complaint, we planned a decoy operation. A police officer deposited money to a bank account belonging to a loan app. The cybercrime and IT Core team tracked the transactions of the account, which led to Sinnar village in Maharashtra. With the help of the local police, we arrested four persons associated with the loan app,” says Krishna Superintendent of Police P. Joshua.

Investigation has revealed that the gangs were investing in cryptocurrency trading and the apps were found to have links with other countries. Some bank officers and recovery agencies are also under scanner, the SP says.

“The accused opened accounts in bulk in multiple banks. They had been operating from far-away places and changing phone SIM cards frequently. They hired recovery agents locally in the States where they were operating. The accused were operating from New Delhi, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Haryana and other States,” says Mr. Joshua.

The loan app operators were opening accounts in banks with more branches with online banking facilities in select places. The operators hired professionals to create the apps and morph photographs of the defaulters.

The police are investigating as to how the loan app operators opened multiple accounts in banks by submitting fake credentials and how they managed to procure phone SIM cards in bulk, which the recovery agents used for blackmailing the loan defaulters, the SP says.

“The loan app operators were transacting huge amounts through the fake bank accounts on a daily basis. We are probing as to how the transactions went unnoticed by the bank authorities,” Mr. Joshua says.

The SP has appealed to the people not to download or use such fraudulent loan apps.

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