Dreams of overnight riches lead to conmen’s traps

DUBAI — Dreams of many who had aspired to become rich overnight in the UAE by multiplying their hard-earned money have been reportedly shattered with several expatriates and UAE nationals allegedly duped by fraudsters and conmen largely from African countries.

By Riyasbabu And Amira Agarib

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Published: Tue 25 Apr 2006, 11:01 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 5:54 PM

According to an official in Dubai Court, “money multiplying cases referred to the Dubai court have seen a sharp increase during the last 10 years. More than 15 cases of this nature are referred to the court every year .”

He said that most of the people who are involved in money multiplying in the UAE are largely from African countries such as Nigeria ,Cameron ,Ghana and Mali. The target, in most of the cases, are AGCC nationals.

Legal experts in the UAE have warned the residents against these African fraudsters who mostly target Arab expatriates by luring them to multiply their money quickly using some chemicals.

Advocate Shamsudheen Karunagappilly of Al Kaaban Advocates disclosed that recently the number of victims having lodged complaints against the African fraudsters have increased ."These fruadsters trap mainly expatriates who want to make quick buck. In most cases they trap the victims by promising them to double their money,” he said.

He cited the case of Ameer, an Indian national, who was conned of $32,000 (Dh100,300) by an African who led him to believe that a stack of paper painted black was actually $100 bills.

The conman had promised to double the money put in by the Indian to buy the chemicals needed to change the 'black paper' into high denomination dollars. The victim of the fraud, Ameer, who owns a grocery store in Frij Murar on Naif Road, came to Dubai last July to start a business and bought a grocery from a Bangladeshi national for Dh140,000. He paid Dh70,000 as advance and took over the shop on the condition that he would pay the remaining Dh70,000 in three months. Thereafter he met a friend of the man who had sold him the shop and introduced the connman to Ameer. He told Ameer that if he could invest $45,000 to buy the chemicals, he would get back $90,000. Ameer went along with him to a hotel in Dubai and met the African who showed him a stack of paper covered with black paint. He then applied a chemical solution to the paint coated notes and they changed into genuine $100 bills. Ameer had cashed the two $100 notes in a money exchange in Dubai, which made him believe that the notes were genuine.

The Bangladeshi who introduced Ameer to the African told him that they needed $45,000 to buy the chemicals to change the notes. Since he did not have the required money he brought $32,000 from India. The Bangladeshi national promised to put in $13,000 with the understanding that they would share the money they make, proportionate to what each of them had invested. When Ameer handed over the money in the hotel room to the African, the Bangladesh national also handed over his money. Then the African gave them a large stack of paper covered with black paint and told them to wait for two hours while he went and bought the chemicals. After two hours Ameer got a call from the African threatening to kill him if he narrated the story to anybody.

“He filed a case with Dubai police but still nobody is arrested. Later, a number of people, victims of such fraud have consulted me on similar fraud,” disclosed Shamsudheen.

In an another case, a source from a Dubai-based Bank said that a 47-year-old Mali national, Najadeth Babadi, one of the most wanted men in Dubai, managed to defraud an amount of Dh1 billion from the Bank. He fled to the US and his case is being transferred to the Interpol, the source said, disclosing, Babadi managed to cheat the manager of the bank. M. A. and the head of the accounts section who is imprisoned to three years in jail, with the claims that he had the ability to multiply money.

Meanwhile, a Dubai police official said that the Police has many times arrested the gangs carrying out money multiplying scams and CID officials are tracing such gangs. Further, he pointed out that the Dubai Police has held several Press conferences after having arrested such gangs to raise awareness about such frauds and warning residents to keep away from such fraudulent gang members and to refrain from dealing with such criminals.

But, unfortunately there are still some people who get cheated by these gangs and the most surprising thing is that there are some educated people and businessmen among those who have been cheated by such gangs .

The African gang members claim to have the power of multiplying money by washing the cash with a chemical substance, he explained, disclosing, a number of people fall into such temptation and often agree to cough up huge amount of money in their desire to become rich in a short time and without toiling hard. Besides, the gang members have the ability to convince people and lure them in their trap. Police have urged the residents to stay away from such frauds because multiplying of money by chemicals is not possible. A. Sujith, a resident of Dubai tempted to become rich overnight said he does not mind trying it with small amount of money. But, I will never trust my money with strangers and will never invest any money in a business if I do not know the person I am dealing with.

Another resident, a UAE national expressed surprise over the foolishness of the educated people who fall in such traps. “We should discourage such illegal ways of becoming rich and prevent the UAE from becoming a thriving ground for such fraudulent business by expatriates specially those from Western African countries.”

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