The Central Crime Branch (CCB) of the Karnataka Police has arrested a former army man in Bengaluru for allegedly cheating hundreds of investors through an online scam and swindling Rs 3.5 crore from them since December 2020.
According to the joint commissioner (crime) Sandeep Patil, the accused has been identified as Johny KV (51), hailing from Ernakulam in Kerala.
CCB sleuths revealed that hundreds of people were victims of the scam which lured people on social media. The investors were attracted to a pyramid-model scheme with the accused claiming to be an active member of a UK-based lifestyle company. He used to meet them on WhatsApp, Zoom, and other online platforms to offer minimum investment and huge returns from the process where investors were paid to click on ad links.
“While Rs 1,109 was charged from first-time investors for a basic membership, 60 advertisement clips were then sent to various social media accounts they operated. A price of Rs 4 was offered to watch each ad, enabling each person to earn at least Rs 240 per day. Further, clients were asked to upgrade to premier membership for which a commission was paid. However, the accused would stop paying them after a few initial instances,” officials said.
The investigating team also discovered that the accused, who retired as a Naik from the Indian Army, had plans to get at least 30 lakh people into his scheme before moving to another city.
“He was arrested before he could wind up his business in Bengaluru and move to another city. He has been taken into custody for further investigation,” Patil said.
A case has been registered at Basaveshwaranagar police station under relevant sections of the Banning of Unregulated Deposit Schemes Act and the Indian Penal Code based on a complaint. “We are looking into all possible links he would have created in the last six months online and offline,” the police added.