He bore all the signs of a suave executive. Immaculately dressed, he drove an SUV and met his clients at posh restaurants, escorted by his two secretaries.
At times, he introduced himself as a customs official, other times as a high official of Bangladesh Bank. He also used many names; to some he was Omar Mabin, to others Zulfikar.
His clients were mostly well-offs. As a customs official, he offered them seized gold bars at a cheaper rate than the marker price at auctions.
Once he made a deal with a prospective buyer, he asked them to transfer money into his accounts. Once the transaction was completed, he “disappeared”.
On Wednesday, the fraudster was arrested by officials of Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of police along with his two accomplices at a restaurant in the capital's Baily road area, said Syeda Jannat Ara, special superintendent of CID.
She was speaking at a press briefing yesterday at CID headquarters in Malibagh.
The man is identified as Khandakar Mohammad Faruk, 52. His two assistants are Elias alias Nur Islam Talukder, 38, and Saiful Islam, 30.
In primary interrogation, Faruk told CID that he used to work as a personal secretary of a Jamalpur lawmaker. He stopped working for the lawmaker around five years ago and started duping people. Police, however, said they were still investigating his claim.
Faruk and his cohorts had embezzled crores of taka by deceiving many, said the CID superintendent.
Copies of cheques worth Tk 40 crore were recovered from Faruk's WhatsApp messages. Also, 18 visiting cards of an assistant commissioner of customs, cheques of four banks, seven mobile phones and 13 SIM cards were seized from their possessions.
Impersonating a customs official, Faruk used to target well-off people and lured them into buying seized gold bars at a cheaper rate in auctions, said the official.
First, he used to send his two assistants to meet prospective clients. Once they reported back to him that a client was willing to buy gold bars, he used to meet them.
“Faruk told the clients that they were from the customs department. He said his job was to seize gold bars and he can also sell those at cheaper price to whoever he wanted, without any problem. He also showed the clients visiting cards of an assistant commissioner of customs and some fake documents,” the police official added.
Once the deal was set and the money was transferred, they changed their mobile phones, SIM cards and identities, the police official said.
“On passport, his name was Khandaker Mohammad Faruk, but he also used a fake NID card,” she added.
Police said they have received several complaints against the arrestees. One of the complainants is Mrinal, who lost Tk 24 lakh to this gang, said Newton Kumar Dutta, sub-inspector of CID, who led the drive.
After their arrests, Mrinal came to the CID office yesterday and identified the fraudsters.
Mrinal told CID that the gang had promised to sell gold bars to him at a cheaper price at a customs auction, said the SI.
Asked if there was involvement of any other person, the CID special superintendent said they were looking into it.
A case was filed with Ramna Police Station in this regard.
Meanwhile, 13 members of a job training agency were arrested in Baridhara's Natun Bazar area on Wednesday for taking money from people, promising to get them jobs abroad. A case was filed against 18 people with Bhatara Police Station.