The Economic Offences Cell (EOC) of Goa Police has busted a ponzi scheme racket, which was allegedly being operated under the garb of investing money of investors in ‘casino games’ and assured returns of up to 3 per cent per day.
“Four accused persons including the mastermind of this racket have been arrested,” said EOC Superintendent of Police Shobhit Saksena.
According to the EOC officials, under the
pretext of casino investment, a ‘dreams2casino’ scheme was functioning from Goa since the last one month and had allegedly duped over 400 persons across the country to the tune of over Rs 1 crore.
The accused have been identified as Dasarath Boora, the mastermind, Adi Ganesh, the official head of the firm, Fakruddin, their Goa agent, and Sandeep, the IT expert of the firm. “One woman from Goa named Shweta is suspected to be involved in their operations of marketing in Goa and her involvement is being verified,” said Saksena.
Officials in the EOC said that the accused persons are from Suryapet and Nalagonda in Telangana and Hosur in Tamil Nadu. “Earlier, they were real estate agents and then became agents in other ponzi schemes in Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. Now they had decided to start their own scheme,” said Saksena.
According to police, a complaint was lodged by Ismail Munshi that a company by the name
‘dreams2reality’ was accepting deposits from persons ranging from Rs 10,000 to Rs 5,00,000 and promising daily returns of upto 3 per cent along with free entry in casinos in Goa, hotel stays and air tickets to Goa. The company also offered additional benefits like phones, two-wheelers and even high-end cars to the existing investors for attracting new customers, said the complaint.
The EOC officials said that the complainant, during further inquiry, stated that the company was not providing any receipt and all the functions were carried out online through a website www.dreams2casino.com where it provided daily earnings, your stakes etc.
Immediately, a team was formed under the supervision of Saksena and led by police inspectors Rajendra Prabhudessai and Pravin Vast to look into the issue. A discreet inquiry was carried out and it was found that ‘dreams2reality’ was operating from an office located in a building at Patto-Panaji under the guise of a travel agency, said EOC officials. The firm had no permissions from the Reserve Bank of India, Securities and Exchange Board of India or any other regulating agency to accept deposits or investment.
Following the inquiry, a First Information Report (FIR) was registered under the relevant sections of Indian Penal Code, Goa Protection of Interests of Depositors Act and Prize Chits and Money Circulation Schemes Banning Act. The EOC teams simultaneously raided all the known premises of the fraudsters – their rented place of residence at Kadamba-Ribandar and their office at Patto-Panaji, and arrested the accused persons. Bank accounts have been frozen and it has revealed that they had over 400 customers across seven states including Goa who had invested over Rs 1 crore in less than a month, said EOC officials.
Upon interrogation of the accused persons, it was established that although they had fashioned their scheme as a scheme for investment in casino games, it was actually a ponzi scheme wherein they were transferring a part of funds received as investment from new customers to their old ones, said EOC officials.
The scheme was started after they came to Goa in September 2019 and hatched a conspiracy to exploit the unique and attractive casino tourism of Goa by offering people from outside Goa an opportunity to play and ‘invest’ in these casinos. As per their plot, they were planning to take in investments for upto 3 months, by when they had estimated that they would make around Rs 5 crore, and shut shop and abscond with the money, said EOC officials.
It was a high-tech operation wherein all the activity was carried out online through the website www.dream2casino.com, said EOC officials adding that on the website, the new investors were supposed to login and upload their investments. It also gave the option of changing schemes and seeing their earnings through graphs etc. The fraudsters used the website to generate daily payout statements and check the spread of their scheme and monitor the work of their inter-state agents.
According to EOC officials, the mastermind stated that they had several agents in various states. These agents were bringing in investments and getting their commission on a daily basis.
Earlier in January, the mastermind and his core team, which is now under arrest, held several meetings with their investors and agents in a hotel at Patto-Panaji under the banner of ‘dreams2reality’.