Uttar Pradesh Special Task Force (STF) busted Rs. 3,700 crore online fraud racket on Thursday in which nearly seven lakh people were duped on the pretext of getting money in lieu of clicking on specific links.
The task force has arrested three persons so far and sealed the bank accounts of the company.
Special Task Force SSP Amit Pathak said the Noida-based company’s Director Anubhav Mittal, COO Sridhar Prasad and technical head Mahesh Dayal were arrested and an FIR was lodged at Soorajpur Police Station in Noida.
A 26-year-old B.Tech graduate tricked more than 7 lakh people into giving him their money through a Ponzi scheme that promised big returns for hitting ‘likes’ online. In a little over a year, Anubhav Mittal’s Social Trade perpetrated a fraud of Rs. 3,700 crore.
The scheme operated through a maze of dubious URLs (online links) sent to phones of subscribers that they were asked to click. Cheekily, these would sometimes be links to Facebook or Twitter profiles of other subscribers. A fake server was set up where these links would terminate.
“We have arrested the company’s owner, Abhinav Mittal, its COO Sridhar Prasad and technical head Mahesh Daya. Mittal has a B.Tech degree and Sridhar is an MBA degree holder. The company has accounts in several banks and some bank employees are also under scanner. We will soon initiate action against these officials. We will be informing the ED, SEBI and RBI about the fraud,” he said.
The STF SSP said the accused duped people on pretext of providing digital marketing solutions and had collected money from as many as seven lakh people under this ponzi scheme.
“The accused used to run a portal ‘socialtrade.biz’ under which an investor had to pay anything between Rs. 5,750 to Rs. 57,500 in the company’s account to become the member and earn Rs. five per click,” he added.