Nine persons, including two women, have been arrested in the past 48 hours in Meghalaya in connection with an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) scam set up by imposters to dupe US citizens, a police official said on Wednesday.
“We have arrested nine people in the past 48 hours in connection with the IRS call centre scam from various locations after a long surveillance of their criminal activities,” Superintendent of Police (City) Vivek Syiem told IANS.
He said more people were likely to be arrested in the state following a series of raids. Six were arrested on Monday night while three were arrested on Tuesday night.
One of the fraud call centres, IFA Enterprise, rented three floors on the building housing SS Net Com at Cleve Colony and was run by Amit Bhowmick and Sunny Mukherjee who were stationed outside and came after certain intervals to pay salaries to the scamsters.
Another call centre, BPO Zurich, was operating from a Reserve Bank of India premises at Lower New Colony.
As many as 77 hard disks, which had been removed from CPUs, Rs 1 lakh in cash and a huge number of incriminating documents, including scripts, were seized from the apartment rented by IFA Enterprise, the police official said.
In another raid, 85 CPUs and several IRS scripts were also recovered. Two SS Netcom employees, Christopher Kurbah and Kiren Damai, were also arrested.
From the apartment rented by BPO Zurich, electronic gadgets used in the scam, Rs 1 lakh in cash and several incriminating documents were seized.
Rijo Christian Joseph, a resident of Ahmadabad, and Sweety Sutnga were also apprehended in connection with the case.
Syiem found another call centre, Dasanbha Enterprise, which was planning to shut down. The owner, Nicky War, was summoned immediately and after questioning it was found that the call centre was also scamming Americans.
“They would call American citizens and ask if he/she suffers from any sickness or has undergone any surgical operation from a range of health problems. Then they would ask if he or she has got hold of an advocate (to which ‘no’ is the obvious answer) and then would claim to be a reputed American firm which would help them in getting ‘potential compensation’ for a fee ranging from $650 only to dupe the persons,” Syeim said.
As many as 63 computers, a server, seals and 43 hard disks were seizedl. War has been arrested.
Meghalaya Police have booked the nine accused under the Indian Penal Code.