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Charges in IT fraud

Pune, June 24: Pune police are all set to file chargesheets against 16 people who had electronically transferred $425,000 (Rs 1.83 crore) from the accounts of five Citibank customers earlier this year.

The move comes in the backdrop of an article in Britain’s The Sun newspaper alleging that an IT worker in Delhi sold its reporter confidential information on bank accounts, credit card details and personal data of 1,000 British customers.

The Sun’s sting operation revived memories of the Pune fraud in which a group of MsourcE call centre employees had siphoned off $425,000 using Internet banking passwords of five Citibank customers based in New York.

“We have to file the chargesheet against the accused within the stipulated 90 days. We will do it on time,” the assistant commissioner of police with Pune police’s cyber cell, Sanjay Jadhav, told The Telegraph today.

The fraud came to light in early April when Citibank’s New York office received a complaint from an account holder who denied making a particular withdrawal. Three other account holders also made similar complaints.

Citibank tracked the money to Pune, which has emerged as a business process outsourcing hub along with Mumbai and Bangalore. The siphoned money was deposited in small local co-operative banks in Pune. The bank alerted officials at its Mumbai branch who filed a complaint with Pune police.

On April 5, the Rupee Co-operative Bank alerted the police about a man attempting to withdraw the deposited money. Ivan Thomas, the alleged brain behind the fraud, led the police to the 15 other members of the group. Thomas had worked as customer relationship manager with MsourcE and had quit the call centre shortly before the fraud came to light.

He confessed that he had persuaded five Citibank customers in New York into parting with confidential information about their accounts and had, in February and March, logged onto Citibank servers from cybercafes to siphon off the money using online banking passwords and netbanking pin numbers.

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