KUALA LUMPUR: German police believe that a Nigerian syndicate is using Malaysia as its base to carry out their US$3mil (RM11.4mil) cheating scam by conning relatives of dead people.
Hamburg police spokesman Captain Schmidt Bernd said his officers seized three letters sent to locals there and believe that Malaysians were not involved.
However, no money was paid by any of the three families who received the letter.
“The letters were mailed on July 30 via Pos Laju to a courier service company in Germany.
“The sender was one Dr Mohale from Global International Securities Delivers based in Kuala Lumpur.
“We believe the sender, the company and the telephone number on the envelope is fictitious and that the syndicate is out to make some quick money preying on survivors of deceased persons living here,” he told The Star in a telephone interview from Hamburg yesterday.
A Bernama report on Tuesday quoted a statement by the Hamburg crime branch as saying that the modus operandi of the company was simple.
Survivors receive a letter marked “strictly confidential” in English, informing them that their deceased relative had deposited a suitcase containing US$3mil with the so-called company based in Kuala Lumpur.
As the “heirs,” the surviving family members are then urged to come forward and take possession of the suitcase and send notarised identification documents and a copy of the so-called certificate of deposit to Malaysia or personally go to Malaysia in the event of any further questions.
Capt Bernd said the syndicate obtained information about the dead from obituaries placed in local newspapers by family and relatives.
He said none of the three families contacted Dr Mohale through his cellular phone as they suspected something amiss and lodged police reports.
The letters were addressed to the family of one Findroff Horst, 75, who died on June 18 and the families of Mayer Hedrun, 58, and Mau Renate, 54, who both died on June 21.
“Family members of all three deceased had placed obituaries in the newspapers.
“We believe if the family had made contact, the syndicate members would definitely ask them for some money before they could release the bags allegedly containing the US$3mil that was purportedly placed in their custody by the deceased,” Capt Bernd said.
He added that the letter also stated that the company had a certificate of deposit that was valid for two months only, after which the families were not entitled to claim the luggage.
He said his officers had contacted the Malaysian Interpol and had also sought the assistance of the German embassy in Malaysia to assist in their investigations.
The fraud, according to the police, lies in that the recipients of the documents were required to remit in advance the cost of transferring the money and notarisation fees or administrative charges for a copy of the non-existent certificate of deposit.