The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday said it has attached funds worth Rs 40.64 crore as part of a money-laundering probe in connection with a case of cheating gullible depositors through fake mobile phone applications linked to payment gateways.
The attached money, in accordance with the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), is in the form of bank deposits and an amount held with payment solutions providers, it said.
The federal probe agency did not disclose the identity of either a businessmen accused in the alleged cheating racket or the payment gateways involved.
In a statement, the ED said its case is based on a June 1 FIR of the cyber crime cell of the Bengaluru Police.
"In the (police) FIR, it was alleged that the accused entities induced the public to invest through Powerbank and Sunfactory applications (on mobile phones) by assuring to remit interest on daily or weekly basis."
"The accused entities closed their purported business after collecting huge sum of money from gullible public," the agency said.
The accused "neither paid interest nor returned the principal amount" to the investors and withheld their money through these "fraudulent" mobile applications, it added.
The ED investigation found that the accused entities "accepted investment of more than Rs 300 crore by setting up a merchant account on behalf of a seemingly legitimate business and availed payment solutions from payment gateways and payment solutions companies".
The agency alleged that the accused entities "deviated" from their declared line of business and collected money from the public by floating "untenable" investment schemes through mobile applications listed on Google Playstore.
"The funds have been settled into the accused entities' bank accounts after collection from the public in the name of investment with the help of illicit use of services provided by payment aggregators," it said.
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