Dh32 million online scam: Dubai jails 30-member gang for 96 years, fines 7 companies Dh700,000

Authorities say the gang stole the money by sending 118,000 phishing emails


A Staff Reporter

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Published: Mon 12 Jun 2023, 2:17 PM

Last updated: Tue 13 Jun 2023, 1:58 PM

A 30-member gang and seven companies have been found guilty of laundering money and embezzling Dh32 million in an online scam targeting individuals and companies.

Dubai’s Money Laundering Court sentenced the 30 members of the gang to a combined total of 96 years of imprisonment. They will be deported from the country after serving their sentence. The court ordered the defendants to jointly pay a fine of over Dh32 million.

The court also ordered the confiscation of computers and phones used in the crime. Additionally, it imposed a combined total fine of Dh700,000 on the seven companies involved in the case. The court may confiscate funds or assets belonging to the defendants to cover the fine.

Earlier, the Public Prosecution referred the 30 individuals and seven companies to the Dubai Courts over charges of money laundering and running a Dh32 million online scam.

Counselor Ismail Madani, senior advocate-general and head of Public Funds Prosecution, said the gang stole the money by sending 118,000 phishing emails to victims. The criminals impersonated banks and financial institutions with whom the victims had business relationships.

“These phishing emails requested the victims to transfer payments to the defendants' accounts. Later, the defendants cashed out the money or transferred it to other accounts, while other defendants purchased used cars to conceal the illicit source of the funds,” the official said.

Counselor Ismail Madani said the UAE authorities are fully committed to fighting money laundering, online crimes, and scams that can have a potentially detrimental impact on the national economy.

Zero tolerance

The UAE has set in place a robust system to investigate money laundering offences. According to a Wam report, from November 2022 to February 2023, law enforcement agencies opened 122 new cases, and public prosecutors investigated 109. During this period, the UAE maintained a 94 per cent conviction rate in money laundering cases.

The UAE has adopted sophisticated investigation methods and techniques to effectively tackle highly complex typologies. As such, all investigations require the officer to formulate a strategy and analyse the possible outcomes, threats, and vulnerabilities.


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