MELAKA, Jan 11 — Seven syndicate members of a mule account running scams offering jobs and investment opportunities that did not exist, involving RM466,380.25 in losses, were arrested in an operation dubbed “Op Akaun Palsu”.
The suspects were nabbed in four separate raids within and outside Melaka recently.
Melaka police chief, Datuk Abdul Majid Mohd Ali said all the suspects, aged 21 to 40 years, including a local unmarried couple and a Vietnamese woman were arrested in Alor Gajah, Seri Kembangan and Kajang in Selangor and Kepong in Kuala Lumpur on January 4 and 5.
He said the lovers, aged 30 and 21, had acted as agents who offered job opportunities to their victims before asking them to surrender their bank ATM cards and PIN numbers that would be used as mule accounts for their clandestine activities and online purchases.
“In this case, the victim who is a gardener aged 30, was given a one-off commission of between RM300 and RM400 for each bank account. The victim had already surrendered his two ATM cards and PIN numbers to the suspect.
“The victim was also asked to find friends who were willing to hand over their ATM cards and reveal their PIN numbers. He managed to get five friends who were interested with the syndicate’s offer,” he said at a press conference held at the Melaka contingent police headquarters, here, today.
Also present was state Commercial Crime Investigation Department head, Supt E. Sundra Rajan.
Abdul Majid said the victim was later taken to a house in Seri Kembangan, Selangor by two syndicate members, known as “Yusri” and “Naufal”.
This made the victim suspicious and he lodged a police report on January 3, with the case investigated under Section 420 of the Penal Code for cheating.
Police also seized 58 ATM cards of various banks and several foreign currencies.
“We believe the syndicate which involved in cross-border fraud has been active since last October and being masterminded by a Chinese national who is still being hunted.
“With the arrest of the syndicate members, we believe 36 online cheating cases all over the country involving losses totalling RM466,380.25 have been solved and three of the cases with losses totalling RM26,069.22 were reported in Melaka,” he said.
Abdul Majid said the initial investigation also revealed that all the local suspects had criminal records involving fraud and drugs.
“The number of cases of non-existent job offers in Melaka has risen to 76 involving losses totalling RM1.23 million last year compared with four cases with losses amounting to RM79,700 in 2020.
“However, cases involving fraudulent investments registered a decrease last year, totalling 126, but the amount of losses rose to RM6.49 million compared with 259 cases in 2020 with losses totalling RM2.87 million.
“Melaka police would like to remind the public to be more vigilant before making any money transfer and to first check with Bank Negara or the police if they are suspicious of the transaction they are about to do,” he added. — Bernama