Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Lost in Ponzi scam? Refund unit on cards for investors

Mateen Hafeez

Mumbai: Over 25 lakh investors, who lost more than Rs 10,000 crore in various schemes, can heave a sigh of relief. A separate refund unit will be formed by the economic offences wing (EOW) of the city police to handle cases of refund to investors, once the court passes an order. Observers welcomed the decision for a separate refund unit and said it will be easier for the lakhs of investors to come to one place (the refund unit), enquire about their money or case status. “Investors don't know whom to approach and how to get their money back. This time effective unit will help many ,“ said an observer.

The refund unit will be headed by a police officer of the rank of assistant commissioner in the EOW . As much as Rs 12,000 crore is stuck in cheating cases over the last six years.

As per police records, maximum investors who invested and lost are in the SpeakAsia multi-level marketing scheme case. “More than 24 lakh investors have lost in this Ponzi scheme. The EOW have filed charge sheets. While investors lost Rs 2,276 crore, over Rs 700 crore was laundered abroad. More than Rs 175 crore belonging to several accused has been frozen over the period and it will be distributed among the investors as per court order,“ said a police officer.

Likewise, more than 1 lakh people lost money in the Padma Vibhushan recipient Michael Ferreira-led QNet scam. While the official amount involved is around Rs 425 crore, police said investors could have lost more than Rs 1,000 crore.

Investors have been doing the rounds of courts and police offices since there was no clarity where they would get their money from once the court ordered auctioning of properties seized.
“Most victims in the above two schemes are from middleclass or lower middle-class.They have been going to police offices and courts. There are some investors whose lives were ruined due to these fraud schemes. The formation of a refund unit will be a great help to the affected investors,“ said a source.

While the NSEL case is still being probed, the police have attached properties worth more than Rs 6,000 crore while the amount involved was lesser in the FIR, Rs 5,600 crore . As many as 13,000 investors lost money .

The Times of India, May 30, 2017

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