4 men convert duped money into cryptocurrency to hide trail, held

Four men were arrested from Rajasthan’s Chittorgarh for allegedly cheating people on the pretext of securing online loans and converting the cheated amount into cryptocurrency.

Police are contacting the National Cybercrime Reporting Portal to get more details on the accused, Chittorgarh residents Deepak Patwa (23), Dev Kishan (32), Suresh Singh (45) and Madhya Pradesh resident Sunil Kumar Khatik (34), and look for complainants. Police sources said the accused might have duped hundreds based on the recoveries — 15 debit cards, seven mobile phones, 27 SIM cards, a dongle, a laptop, a tablet, six cheque books, a BMW car, five passbooks and Rs 20,000 — and even bought the car with the cheated money.

DCP (Rohini) Pranav Tayal said: “The accused used to get money by cheating several bank account owners via UPI. They then converted it into cryptocurrency via an online exchange. Patwa received cryptocurrency commission and redeemed it directly into his account and via hawala transactions.”

According to police, they received a complaint from a man at the Rohini Cyber police station who alleged he was defrauded based on a loan offer online. He received a text message with a link stating that his loan had been approved with a limit starting at Rs 2 lakh. When he clicked on the link and uploaded basic details, he received a call via a messaging app and was asked to deposit 5% of the loan amount and that it would be refunded later. After the complainant had deposited Rs 40,000, he did not receive any response.

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Police said the suspects were identified, located in Chittorgarh and apprehended. Police said the cheated money was transferred into accounts in MP’s Neemuch. They added that Rs 75 lakh had been transferred in two days and that cryptocurrency was being purchased on multiple platforms.

DCP Tayal said, “The accused were looking for an idea to dupe maximum people using an easy scheme. They found a YouTube video where they learnt about cheating people on the pretext of providing online loans. They were looking for more information when they met a Chinese national on (the messaging app). The accused, Deepak, would take advice from this man on how to cheat people…. The accused was converting all the cheated money… on a crypto platform. The cryptocurrency was then transferred to his other associates who would encash it using hawala channels. They thought it would be an easy way to hide the money trail.”

An FIR had been registered under IPC section 419 (cheating by personation) and 420 (cheating to induce delivery of property), said police.