Couple fools 1,000 into giving up $17.5mil using small contract

Couple fools 1,000 into giving up $17.5mil using small contract
PHOTO: Screengrab from The Star

SHAH ALAM - She came from a humble background in Besut, Terengganu, where her family ran an honest business to make ends meet.

Armed with only an SPM qualification and big dreams, the woman secured a contract from the Defence Ministry to supply awnings.

However, that wasn't enough for her. She wanted more.

Using the official contract letter, she forged documents to make it look like she had won a multi-million ringgit project from the ministry to supply digital camouflage uniforms.

With this, she lured "investors" and before long, her entire village became her victims.

The 30-year-old woman, along with her husband, 31, recruited at least 1,000 "investors" and raked in RM55mil (S$17.5 million).

With the new-found wealth, the couple drove around in luxury cars, wore branded clothes, carried luxury handbags and hobnobbed with the rich.

These made it even easier to snare potential victims.

It took another woman, a clerk in a government agency, to bring down the duo's house of cards.

She lodged a police report about being cheated along with 40 others to the tune of RM1.7mil.

The couple had roped in a schoolmate from Besut and they set about gathering at least 1,000 investors, promising returns of between 30 per cent and 90 per cent in a scam resembling a multi-level marketing scheme.

Selangor Commercial Crime Investigation Department deputy chief Supt Mazelan Paijan said police arrested the two last week after receiving nine reports against them.

"They duped their investors by claiming that they did not have enough funds to start the contract," he told a press conference at the Selangor police headquarters yesterday.

He said police were first alerted to the scam after a report was lodged by the clerk from Terengganu last September.

"We investigated and arrested the two suspects on Feb 6 at a luxury apartment in Bukit Jelutong," he said, adding that the couple ran their "business" from a double-storey shoplot in Taman Melawati.

He said police had been tracking them for eight months and had raided six different premises before the arrests were made.

Supt Mazelan added that following the arrests, police also nabbed a 47-year-old Datuk in Puchong and a woman aged 30 in Kajang on Feb 8.

"The woman is a partner in the company and is involved in finding more investors.

"The Datuk received RM14mil from the two female suspects to secure a contract for the building of a Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission tower in Pahang," he said, adding that all four suspects had been remanded.

He said police seized two luxury cars and were looking for eight other vehicles believed to have been bought by the suspects under different names.

Supt Mazelan said although 1,000 investors had been identified, police believed the number could be higher.

"Some of the victims might be too embarrassed to come forward," he said, urging anyone with information to contact the police hotline at 03-2052 9999 or visit the nearest police station

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