Scam bank account syndicate exposed

JOHOR BARU: Police are on the hunt for a 39-year-old man who is believed to be the leader of a syndicate that sold bank accounts to scammers.

Johor police chief Comm Datuk Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay said the suspect, nicknamed Allan or Frankie, goes by the full name of Muhammad Raif Lee Abdullah, with the last known address at Jalan Mewah Ria, Taman Bukit Mewah.

The syndicate, dubbed the “Allan group”, has been active since February and is said to be linked to 91 bank accounts with losses amounting to RM3.7mil.

The modus operandi was discovered following the arrest of 10 members during an operation at Taman Perling on Nov 18.

“This is the first time the police have managed to subdue such criminal activity.

“The group used drug addicts at Jalan Wong Ah Fook and Larkin to open bank accounts and provided them with fake employment verification letters from a non-active company, ” Comm Ayob said at the Johor police headquarters here yesterday.The banks would then call the company boss, Allan, to verify the drug addicts’ details.

The syndicate would then sell those accounts to scammers who run the Macau scam, fake loans and non-existing investments.

Each drug addict would be paid a one-off RM200 for setting up the bank accounts.

The Macau scam often starts with a phone call from someone pretending to be an officer from a bank, government agency or debt collector. The scammer will then claim the potential victim owes money or has an unpaid fine that needs to be settled, often within an hour or face “dire consequences”.

According to Comm Ayob, the operation on Wednesday started at 12.30pm by the Commercial Crime Investigation Department Johor Baru (North) where the team stopped a car and arrested four people.

“Police found bank ATM cards, documents and notebooks with details of the account holders.

“In two follow-up raids at Tampoi, another six people, including two women, were detained, ” he said.

The suspects are Malaysians aged between 19 and 41. All of them tested positive for drugs and have records for drugs and cheating.

Anyone with information on Allan or his whereabouts should contact the nearest police station or call investigating officer ASP Timmy Aheng at 019-777 3728.

The case is classified under Section 420 of the Penal Code for cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property which carries a maximum imprisonment of 10 years, whipping and a fine.

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