The CBI has seized cryptocurrency worth more than $930,000 (around Rs 7.7 crore) from an Ahmedabad-based man who allegedly cheated a US-citizen posing as a senior executive of a multi-national company’s fraud department, officials said. Based on inputs from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) of the United States, the CBI filed an FIR against Ramavat Shaishav, who allegedly contacted the US citizen over the phone and introduced himself as “James Carlson” from the fraud department of Amazon, they said.
During searches, the CBI found 28 Bitcoin, 55 Ethereum, 25,572 Ripple and 77 USDT in Shaishav’s e-wallet. These were transferred to the government’s wallet at the time of the seizure, the officials said. He allegedly convinced the victim that his account on Amazon was being accessed by unscrupulous elements, and that his social security was being used from four different states to open accounts on the e-commerce platform. “It was also alleged that the accused induced the victim to withdraw cash from his bank accounts and deposit the same in Bitcoin in the RockitCoin ATM Wallet, and also shared a QR code falsely informing him (the victim) that the same was opened by the US Treasury for him,” the Central Bureau of Investigation’s (CBI) spokesperson said.
It is alleged that to gain the victim’s trust, Shaishav e-mailed a forged letter, dated September 20, 2022, claiming it was issued by the US’ Federal Trade Commission. “In pursuance of the said inducement, the victim allegedly withdrew an amount of $130,000 (roughly Rs. 1.08 crore) from his bank accounts on different dates during the period August 30, 2022, to September 9, 2022, and deposited the same in the Bitcoin address provided by the accused,” the official said.
This amount was allegedly misappropriated by Shaishav. “Searches were conducted at the premises of the accused in Ahmedabad which led to the recovery and seizure of cryptocurrencies viz, Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, USDT, etc. worth USD 939,000 (approx) from the crypto wallets of the accused, and incriminating material,” the spokesperson said.
The role of two accomplices of Shaishav, who are also based in Ahmedabad, has surfaced. The CBI also searched their premises and it leading to the seizure of mobile phones, laptops containing incriminating material and other digital devices.