UAE: Dh23,000 electricity bill for villa alerts authorities to organised crime gang's headquarters

An investigation prompted by the suspicious bill revealed money laundering and electronic fraud operations

by

Supreeta Balasubramanian

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Published: Thu 22 Jun 2023, 9:26 AM

Last updated: Fri 23 Jun 2023, 2:25 PM

An enormous electricity bill in two residential villas in Fujairah alerted the authorities to a large number of people staying in the location.

The higher-than-usual amount on the bill prompted investigations into the villas, which were originally rented only for two people. The probe revealed that an organised crime group was running their electronic fraud and money laundering operations from the villas, hence racking up a huge bill of Dh23,000, according to Arabic news outlet Emarat Al Youm.


The group had created fake websites and obtained money from victims, claiming to be able to return huge profits to them. In a raid on the villas, authorities seized multiple computers and phones and were able to retrieve evidence of the crimes.

The Fujairah Federal Court ruled that the 10 defendants, who are of Asian nationality, be jailed for five years and fined Dh5 million. The commercial establishment that sponsored their residence, provided them with the villas and vehicles has been fined Dh5 million as well.


Residents warned

In a continuous effort to safeguard residents, authorities in the UAE have issued repeated warnings against deceptive social media advertisements that lure individuals with false promises of easy money and swift profits. Police departments across the Emirates have launched multiple campaigns on various social media platforms, aiming to alert the public about fraudulent websites, dubious social media links, and misleading online advertisements that entice victims with the prospects of attractive returns and high rewards.

Scammers also impersonate officials from government agencies to dupe the public. Abu Dhabi police warned UAE residents about increased fraudulent calls and counterfeit websites. Fraudsters employ deceptive text messages that imitate government institutions and officials that aim to deceive or lure individuals.

The UAE Public Prosecution also urged social media users to be vigilant and avoid dealing with unauthorised parties. Such entities use fraudulent methods and advertise themselves across social media.

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