A 23-year-old man from Rajasthan, who was arrested by Ahmedabad Crime Branch on Monday for allegedly duping at least 20 employers of lakhs of rupees, claimed that he was inspired by the character of conman Frank Abagnale shown in Steven Spielberg’s film ‘Catch Me If You Can’, police said.
The accused, Jai alias Jayesh Soni, a resident of Udaipur in Rajasthan, watched the classic film back in 2015 along with his father Ramesh Soni, police said. The accused along with his father made several fake IDs using the copies of their original Aadhaar cards in order to commit fraud. According to officials of Ahmedabad Detection of Crime Branch (DCB), the accused managed to commit fraud against 20 employers in Ahmedabad, Vadodara and Udaipur while impersonating different names in the past five years. “We are yet to ascertain the exact amount of money he duped,” officials said.
Police got the first tip about Soni recently when he was booked in a fraud case of Rs 14.78 lakh done against Kothari Papers in Narol of Ahmedabad where he was employed as an accountant. He allegedly stole a cheque from his employer and managed a fake stamp on it to get it cleared in his own account.
“The accused and his father are proficient in English, Hindi and Gujarati. In 2015, they watched the film ‘Catch me if you can’ and got an idea from it. Soni then learned account auditing, tally software and excel sheet work from Youtube. He and his father then used MS Paint software to create multiple fake IDs of their own Aadhaar and PAN cards. Using the fake IDs they created several bank accounts in Udaipur, Vadodara and Ahmedabad and got SIM cards under fake names as well,” said BV Gohil, Assistant Commissioner of Police, DCB Ahmedabad.
Police further stated that after creating fake IDs, the accused then started contacting companies in different cities for job vacancies. The modus operandi followed by the accused was very similar to that of US conman Frank Abagnale as shown in the film.
“The accused followed newspaper ads for job vacancies for auditor or assistant accountants and then appeared for interviews in either company’s office or hotel by taking a fake name. After he was selected for the job, he worked in the company for some time before stealing a cheque of his employer and getting a fake stamp on it to get it cleared in his impersonated name. He has bank account under the same impersonated name and after the money was transferred, he then shifted it to his other bank and PayTM accounts to avoid suspicion. Even the phone numbers he had used to apply for the jobs were registered under fake names. He managed to do that against 20 employers in past five years,” said Gohil.
Police said that Soni was finally caught on Monday while he was on his way to another interview in Changodar GIDC area of Ahmedabad for the position of an accountant.
“After the fraud at Kothari Papers was discovered, we started watching the activities of Soni at his residence in Udaipur and after we confirmed his modus operandi, we picked him up on Monday while he was set to appear in another job interview,” said Gohil.
Police are further investigating the role of his father in the case.
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