By Jamila Najmuddin
Police are on the lookout for a conman who had managed to deceive people through newspaper advertisements and collected over Rs 1.6 million. One of his accomplices has already been arrested, Colombo fraud bureau Director SSP Maxie Proctor told Daily Mirror online.
According to SSP Proctor the newspaper advertisement had urged unsuspecting customers to place their deposits in bank accounts in return for huge loans, land or vehicles for a very low interest rates.
Once the advertisement had appeared in a weekend newspaper on February 14, a suspecting customer had alerted the police resulting in an investigation being launched by the fraud bureau team led by Police Sergeant S.I. Ekanayaka and his team members 18523 Udayakumara, 38700 Chanaka and P.C. Driver 34797 Sunil Shantha.
The suspecting customer who had initially contacted the suspect soon after reading the advertisement had been told to deposit Rs.15,000 immediately into an alleged lawyer’s bank account. He thereafter told the customer that he would meet him in the next few days.
The customer had also been advised by the alleged conman to telephone him on a new number as the one advertised was not in use.
However SSP Proctor said that the telephone chip which had been advertised had only been purchased on February 9 and before it could be registered the alleged conman had purchased a new telephone number.
The Fraud Bureau, in an attempt to catch the suspect, had sent a decoy to his home in Anuradhapura a few days after the advertisement had appeared. When the decoy had reached the suspect’s home, his mother, having been told by the decoy that he was a friend of the suspect was advised to return back home in the evening.
Once the decoy had returned back to the house in the evening, the suspect’s mother had told him that the suspect was closeby after which the decoy had alerted P.S. Ekanayaka’s team, who were closeby to be on alert.
Upon seeing the suspect, approaching his house, the police had immediately arrested him and brought him to Colombo for further investigations. “As soon as he was arrested he told the police that he had lost his National ID Card and the one who had stolen it, would have been the real conman. However based on the evidence we have collected against him, we knew we had our man,” SSP Proctor said.
The suspect, upon being brought to Colombo had been produced to court and has been remanded until March 5.
SSP Proctor has sought clearance from IGP Mahinda Balasuirya to set up an intelligence unit in the Fraud Bureau to detect these kind of activities.
The SSP also said that he had obtained clearance from the IGP to create public awareness over such incidents.