CCB unearths loan fraud scam

Sleuths from the Central Crime Branch (CCB) police have busted a network of at least 52 companies registered in benami names, allegedly by Chinese nationals who were fleecing customers after giving loans on mobile applications without any guarantees.

Acting on a tip-off, CCB Economic Offences Wing raided the offices of Licorise Technology Pvt. Ltd. in Munnekolala recently. The company was allegedly issuing short-term loans on various mobile applications like Cash Master and Crazy Rupees, and charging a hefty processing fee that was almost half of the loan granted. Those who availed of the loans were later charged a hefty weekly interest.

When debtors failed to pay up, the company would harass them by making threatening calls and sending details of the default and other information to contacts on their mobile phones that they would have gained access to while giving out loans on the app, said the CCB.

Similar cases had been reported in Telangana in 2020, where several debtors had reportedly ended their lives. Two similar cases were busted in Bengaluru too.

The recent raid revealed that there was a network of 52 companies registered in the names of most of the employees working at Licorise Technology Pvt Ltd, without their knowledge. “The employees were given incentives to open an ‘account’ in their name, to which many willingly volunteered. But unknown to them, companies were registered in their names which in turn were indulging in illegal loan grant and recovery. A maze of firms registered in various benami names have been created to ensure the real owner, Chinese nationals, are hidden,” said a senior police official, involved with the probe.

These companies have had tie-ups with RBI registered Non Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) for loan disbursal. “The companies do not even offer loans. They are only a middleman. They get loans granted from NBFCs, cheat the customers charging almost 50% as processing fee and later charge hefty weekly interest, barred by law. Thus on the loan principal provided by Indian NBFCs, the debtors are also cheated, harassed for recovery and the windfall is transferred out of the country to China,” the official said.

CCB will now write to the Enforcement Directorate, Income Tax Department, Department of Goods and Services Tax, Reserve Bank of India and Register of Companies, for further investigations.

The Central Crime Branch has arrested Licorise Techonology’s HR Manager Kamaraj More, 25 and Team Leader Darshan Chavan, 21 for making threatening calls to debtors.

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