Police and law enforcement agencies in India have clamped down on JeeoIndia, a Ponzi scam similar to OneCoin digital currency scheme that lures investors in the country to invest for a higher return.
According to TheHindu.com, a local news website, JeeoIndia affiliates and promoters numbering about 17 people were arrested during a raid on a hotel in Kalamboli in Navi Mumbai.
The arrest of the alleged JeeIndia racketeers was carried out based on a tip-off by the local police. According to India authorities, at least 1,000 people have been lured into investing amounts ranging from ₹10,000 to ₹26.
A Navi Mumbai Commissioner of Police Hemant Nagrale who was quoted by TheHindu.com said, “In the raid, 17 accused including one of the main promoters, Sudhir Patil, have been arrested. The promotional material of the scheme including two laptops have been seized in the raid. Prima facie it is revealed that the organisers lured investors by promising returns as high as 1% per day on their investment. The promoters also marketed the MLM scheme to generate more response by offering commission to the agents. We would like to appeal to public to not invest in such ponzi schemes and also come forward and contact the police if anyone has been cheated by this scheme.”
The website reported that around 150 people were in attendance at the seminar raided by the police on Saturday, among whom around 60 had already invested in the scheme. DCP (Crime Branch) Tushar Doshi said the accused have held six seminars since March in Kalamboli. “There could be 1,000 to 1,200 investors in this scheme, but we need to verify this. It’s too early to get a complete picture of the number of people and bank accounts involved. The person who organised the seminar, Sudhir Patil, has been arrested. Another arrested accused, Sudhir Mohite, is a motivational speaker and was exhorting people to join the scheme at the seminar.”
Explaining the scam, Mr. Doshi said when an individual shows interest in the scheme, he is given ‘packages’ starting at ₹10,000 and without upper limits. The investor has to pay 20% of the package value upfront in cash. Later, he said, the investor is given a login name and password to access the website used for the scam. “On the website, they get details of the amount to be deposited and the relevant account details. When a new person joins the scheme, a part of the money invested by him or her is given as ‘returns’ to the previous investor, and the chain goes on. The investors don’t realise that they are victims, as they continue to believe they’ll get returns. In such cases, the fraud does not come to light till the scheme collapses. Our action will prevent any further investment in this scheme.
A Crime Branch officer said some investors had started getting returns, as in such schemes it’s necessary for the conmen to do so in the beginning to win people’s trust. The website is down since the raid, he added.
“We have received police custody of all accused till August 23, and more details of the ponzi scheme will be uncovered in the course of investigations,” Mr. Doshi said.
A visit to the JeeoIndia website shows that the site has been pulled off the Internet.