KUALA LUMPUR: A foreign exchange (forex) scam syndicate that fleeced its investors of close to RM21 million was busted by police last week with the arrest of 10 people.
The syndicate that has been active since early last year had lured its victims by promising returns of between 5% and 8% under the fake investment scheme called EssenceFX.
The nabbed suspects comprised eight men and two women aged between 25 and 42.
Among them was the mastermind of the syndicate known as Joe Kedah and his foreign girlfriend who were arrested in Shah Alam.
Police also seized 10 luxury cars from the suspects and other items such as cellphones, laptops, computers and cash.
Federal commercial crimes investigations department (CCID) director Commissioner Datuk Zainuddin Yaacob said the suspects were arrested in four raids conducted by police here, Cyberjaya, Kajang and Shah Alam on Thursday.
He said police received 72 police reports against the syndicate after its victims could no longer access their online accounts early this year.
In a separate case, Zainuddin said police also busted a syndicate that recruited “bank account mules” for the illegal activities of scammers.
He said early this month the CCID arrested 10 suspects comprising of three women and seven men aged 20 and 32 in various locations in the Klang Valley.
Zainuddin said the scammers targeted low-income earners and the unemployed, paying them between RM500 and RM1,500 to open bank accounts and handover all related documents such as ATM cards and account books to them.
He said the mule accounts were then sold for between Rm2,000 and RM3,500 by the syndicate to online scammers for it to be used to receive payments from victims.
Zainuddin said the syndicate raked in more than RM10,000 a month.
He said police received 32 police reports from victims who lost over RM1.1 million which had links to the mule accounts of the syndicate.