A 75-year-old Mumbai businessman became a victim of cyber fraud orchestrated by a Ukrainian woman named Esema. The elderly man, who owns a private company, reported a substantial loss of Rs 3.3 crore to the West Region Cyber Crime Police Station.
According to TOI, the scam unfolded when Esema, claiming to be in dire straits due to the war in Ukraine, approached the businessman via email. She enticed him with the prospect of starting a business in India and expressed interest in purchasing machinery equipment.
Esema promised to send a box containing $9.7 lakh in cash (approximately Rs 8 crore) to kickstart the business. However, she alleged that the box was seized by the police in Jakarta, Indonesia. To release the box, the businessman was coerced into paying various fees.
Over eight months, the elderly victim dutifully sent money to 101 different Indian bank accounts as instructed by Esema, totaling Rs 3.3 crore. Despite his hopes of receiving the promised Rs 8 crore, he never received anything in return.
“The mail sender gave 101 account numbers to the complainant, asking him to pay fees for various certificates. He kept sending money for eight months to various accounts. In all, he sent Rs 3.3 crore, hoping to get the Rs 8 crore,” explained the police to TOI.
Esema continually concocted excuses, demanding additional funds for certificates such as anti-drug and money laundering clearance, transfer certificate fees, and more. She resorted to threats of legal action if the man failed to comply.
In addition to the initial promises, the victim was further swindled into providing income tax reports, a power of attorney, insurance, an original fund clearance certificate, and ministry of finance certificates. The elaborate scheme left the elderly businessman defrauded of a significant sum of money.