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Lady duped of 4.5 lakhs by foreign nationals

Thursday, December 07, 2017
By Zuber Ansari & Tariq Khan

The JJ Marg police are now verifying the Facebook and bank accounts of Max to find out whether the identity was real or fake

The JJ Marg police has registered an FIR against two unidentified foreign nationals for allegedly duping an city-based woman on the pretext of helping a cancer patient in India. Both the foreign nationals had introduced themselves as top officials of a multinational company and fot close to the lady. They got in touch with Sumaiya Faiyyaz Momin on Facebook and have been chatting with her since September this year. One of the accused,  Max Johannes, told Momin that he had recently lost his wife to cancer and gained her trust through sympathy.

“Momin told us that after a few conversations, Max told her that since he had lost his wife and mother to cancer, he wanted to help cancer patients in India as he knew medicines in India are expensive. Momin told him that was a good idea and she would help him with the process. Max told Momin he was sending a supply of medications to India,” said Shirish Gaikwad, senior Police Inspector of JJ Marg police station.

A few days later Max called up Momin again and sounded tense. “Max told Momin that the medications were sent from New York and had landed at Delhi airport from where they would be going to Mumbai. However, due to increased taxes in India, the medications were stuck there and he immediately needed 4.5 lakhs to pay the customs officials,” added Gaikwad.

Momin then transferred the cash to him through  various accounts that he had given her. However, when she never heard from Max, she suspected foul play, directly contacted the Indira Gandhi Airport in Delhi. She then discovered that no such parcel had come from any foreign country. She tried contacting both the foreign nationals on Facebook but their accounts were unavailable and their given mobile number was also switched off, police added. Momin then registered a complaint.

The JJ Marg police are now verifying the Facebook and bank accounts of Max to find out whether the identity was real or fake.

“We suspect a racket as many other women across the city have also been cheated using the same modus operandi on Facebook,” said Gaikwad.
On the basis of Momin's complaint, a FIR under Sections 420 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code and relevant Sections of the IT Act has been registered and investigation in going on, police said.

Past cases
On November 8, 29-year-old Sarika Pawar approached the Bhoiwada police after she realised that the vastu expert she had consulted through Facebook had duped her. Pawar, a Mankhurd resident, had met Nandini Kamath online through Facebook. Kamath had sent her a friend request which she had accepted in the month of September. Later Kamath had introduced her brother Sagar, an alleged Vastu expert. He said that although he would not charge anything he needed gold and cash for the puja to correct the Vastu of her house. They agreed to meet on the Dadar Foot-over-Bridge where Pawar handed him Rs 60,000 in cash and gold jewellery. Sagar fled with her ornaments.

On November 28, a 49-year-old woman from Marine Drive was cheated to the tune of Rs 36 lakhs by two people she had befriended on Facebook. Sandra D’souza, a resident of Chandanwadi, accepted a friend request from a woman and chatted with her. The accused then told the D'souza that she and her friend needed to transfer some money to Mumbai for business but couldn’t do the online transfer. The accused (whose name was not disclosed by the police) asked D’souza if she could transfer it for them. She agreed after being promised that the money would be returned within 24 hours and transferred Rs 36 lakhs to an account. However, she realised she was duped the next day after multiple attempts to contact her new found friends went futile.

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