KUALA LUMPUR, July 16 — The police have crippled an online investment scam syndicate with the arrests of 10 individuals that preyed upon Malaysians who were confined to their homes during the movement control order (MCO).
Bukit Aman Commercial Crimes Investigation Department acting director Commissioner Datuk Saiful Azly Kamaruddin said the group, a former scratch-and-win syndicate, had promoted its online scam under the name of ‘i-Rakyat Trade’ through Facebook which began operating between March and June this year.
“The syndicate activities began in March 2020 during the enforcement of the MCO to lure susceptible victims by offering non-existent high investment yields as much as 13 times in the so-called international oil and gas industry.
“Following reports lodged by the victims involving losses of at least RM200,000, the police successfully zeroed in on the syndicate’s activities and made the arrests,” he said during a press conference at the department’s headquarters here.
According to Saiful Azly, the 10 suspects, including a woman, were aged between 19 and 31, and are currently under police remand.
The arrests were made in several locations throughout the city between July 14 and July 15.
Several luxury vehicles were also seized during the raids as well as electronics, jewelry and foreign currencies.
To date, Saiful Azly said 22 investigations papers involving the reports lodged by each victim have been initiated.
He explained that the investment scam comprised four package tiers with varying starting capital and returns.
For example, the lowest tier guaranteed a return of RM10,800 within two days with a capital of RM800 while the highest tier guaranteed a return of RM54,000 within two days with a capital of RM4,800.
The syndicate also offered lucky draw prizes such as luxury vehicles, tour packages and electrical appliances to entice would-be investors.
The case is being investigated under Section 420 of the Penal Code for cheating and the Anti-Money Laundering Act.
Saiful Azly also urged other victims who have been duped by the syndicate to come forward in lodging a report and assist in ongoing investigations.
Meanwhile, he said 672 police reports involving syndicated investment scams amounting to RM93.7 million in losses were received between January 1 and July 15 this year.
Of the 672, 467 involved online investment scams amounting to RM52.4 million in losses.
A total of 13 online investments have been identified as scams to date by the police which include IQ Option, Olymp Trade, i-Rakyat Trade, Global Investment, Wei Jian Zhi, AA Anthony, Global Trader, People Global Network, Rakuten Trade, Wine Exchange China, GWFX Global, Private Investment Trade Dubai and London Stock Exchange.
“Do not invest when online traders request you to deposit money into an individual or company account.
“Please do not be swayed. Even if you have the money, do check the veracity of the website with the authorities such as Bank Negara Malaysia’s Alert List, PDRM’s Semak Mule or the Securities Commission before deciding to invest,” Saiful Azly added.