Joe Kedah fleeces RM20mil off 72 people via online app

Spoils of fraud: Comm Zainuddin with the seized items after police crippled the bogus investment syndicate in Kuala Lumpur. — NORAFIFI EHSAN/The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: As the owner of luxury homes and sleek cars, he is no ordinary Joe, with apparent wealth coming from a bogus investment scheme.

The 42-year-old man, who goes by the name Joe Kedah, allegedly set up an application called EssenceFX where he promised returns of between 5% and 8% on investments.At least 72 people invested a total of RM20.5mil before the application went offline early this year. It was then that they realised they had been scammed.

Federal Commercial Crime Investigation Department (CCID) director Comm Datuk Zainuddin Yaacob said police launched a series of raids in Kuala Lumpur, Cyberjaya, Shah Alam and Kajang and arrested 10 suspects, including a Malaysian woman and an Indonesian woman, on Nov 19.

He said a Ford Mustang, Porsche Macan, four BMW cars, an Audi, a Range Rover Evoque and two Toyota Vellfire worth RM1.21mil were seized.

“The mastermind and his Indonesian girlfriend were arrested at a luxury condominium in Shah Alam, ” he said.

(It is learnt that he drove the Ford Mustang and Range Rover and lived in a number of multimillion-ringgit properties.)

Speaking to reporters yesterday, Comm Zainuddin said. “Our investigations revealed that the mastermind hired agents to find investors.”

He said police received 72 reports on the matter and opened 28 investigation papers involving losses of about RM20.52mil.

During the raids, police also seized 17 mobile phones, seven laptops, four desktop computers, 14 ATM cards, four company stamps, RM10,000 in cash and documents connected to investments.

All the suspects were remanded for five days.

“Our investigations revealed that the syndicate created EssenceFX to dupe victims and when the application went offline early this year, investors started to get anxious.

“We would like to remind the public to not easily believe in promises of high profits.

“You have to check with the Security Commission, Bank Negara and Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry before making any investment, ” he said.

Separately, Comm Zainuddin said police arrested seven men and three women who were involved in recruiting bank account mules to supply to online scam syndicates.

They were picked up between Nov 5 and Nov 10.

The suspects, aged between 20 and 32, would offer account holders a one-off payment of RM500 to RM800 in order to give them access to the accounts and ATM cards.

“The group would then sell the accounts to scam syndicates for between RM2,000 and RM3,500.

“We believe each syndicate member made between RM5,000 and RM10,000 a month, ” he said, adding that a total of 32 reports had been lodged involving RM1.15mil in losses.

Comm Zainuddin said police also seized four airsoft guns, a knife, 79 ATM cards, 24 mobile phones, four laptops, three identity cards, two notebooks and three stamps.

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