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Probe Agency Seizes Assets Valued at ₹278 Crore in Crackdown on Mobile App Fraud

₹278 Crore Asset Seizure Linked to Mobile App Fraud Unravels Money-Laundering Web; Traces Lead Back to October 2021 Cyber Crime FIR in Nagaland.

By: Team Pardaphash  Pardaphash Group
Probe Agency Seizes Assets Valued at ₹278 Crore in Crackdown on Mobile App Fraud

New Delhi: In a significant development, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) announced on Wednesday that it has attached assets valued at over ₹278 crore in connection with a money-laundering investigation related to the alleged fraud involving the mobile app “HPZ Token.” This move comes after the ED had previously attached properties worth ₹176.67 crore in the same case.

Expansion of Attachment Under PMLA

Under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), the ED issued an order to provisionally attach the “proceeds of crime” encompassing movable and immovable properties. These assets, amounting to ₹278.71 crore, belong to various individuals and shell entities, including those with links to China. The entities are accused of duping investors through fraudulent schemes, as detailed in the central agency’s statement.

Origin of the Money-Laundering Case

The roots of the money-laundering case trace back to an FIR filed in October 2021 by the cybercrime police station in Nagaland’s Kohima. The case revolves around the alleged deception of unsuspecting investors who were promised extraordinary returns by investing in the mining of Bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies. The “HPZ Token” mobile app is said to have played a pivotal role in these illicit activities.

Modus Operandi and Promised Returns

The ED alleges that various shell entities, including those with dummy directors, were involved in the rotation and layering of funds fraudulently obtained through illegal online gaming, betting, and Bitcoin mining investments. Promises of astronomical returns, such as ₹4,000 per day for three months on an investment of ₹57,000, were made to lure investors. However, the ED claims that after an initial payment, subsequent funds were sought without fulfilling the promised returns.

So far, the total proceeds of crime restrained by the ED in the case stand at ₹ 455.37 crore, the agency said.

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