When he was not meeting with clients at five-star hotels, you could find Moshiur Rahman at one of his luxurious offices, located all over Gulshan, Banani and Uttara areas of Dhaka.
On paper, he is the owner of Abrar Traders and Jahan Group, and travelled almost exclusively in his luxury Toyota Prado.
In the past five years, Moshiur has done very well for himself, using a very simple yet effective business model – scamming big corporations out of hundreds of crores of taka.
His modus operandi included buying products in bulk by paying only 10% of the actual price. The remaining sum would be paid via cheques. However, every time his suppliers went to cash in the cheques, they would bounce.
Soon after, Moshiur would close shop, move to some other area and rent a new luxurious office. Rinse and repeat.
However, his run as a successful, though criminal, entrepreneur finally came to an end when Dhaka Metropolitan Police's (DMP's) Detective Branch (DB) arrested him on Wednesday.
Hearing about the news of his arrest, many of Moshiur's victims – most of whom were representatives of some of the top firms in Bangladesh – went to the DB office in hopes of getting their money back.
Police informed that in Dhaka city alone, 15 fraud cases and 11 lawsuits for dishonouring cheques have been filed against Moshiur. During initial interrogation, he also implicated his wife, Sabrina Chowdhury, along with two other criminal associates – Rejaur Rahman and Faruk alias Engineer Belal.
According to a First Information Report (FIR) filed with Gulshan Police Station by Bengal Group of Industries, Abrar Traders had purchased 150 LED TVs, two microwave ovens, and one air conditioner – worth Tk49 lakh – from their sister concern Linnex Electronics BD Limited.
He wrote out a cheque for Tk23 lakh to the company as partial payment for the goods. Unsurprisingly, when a Linnex employee submitted the cheque to the bank, they said his account was empty.
When informed about this, Moshiur said he would deposit the money in the bank within two days. However, he left the office he had been dealing out of, and cut off all contacts with the company.
Talking to The Business Standard, DB Khilgaon Zonal Team Additional Deputy Commissioner, Shahidur Rahman, said: "There were multiple warrants out for him in many fraud cases – including around 26 lawsuits in Dhaka."
One of his victims, furniture trader Md Shimul Mia said Moshiur had purchased furniture worth Tk7 lakh from him, by paying only 10% of the cost. "Later, he paid Tk3 lakh, in phases, but he still owes me Tk4 lakh," he said.
"I am a small businessman. After being defrauded by Moshiur, my business had to be shut down," Shimul explained.
DB sources revealed that Moshiur's main scam was to buy around Tk50 lakh worth of goods from big companies. He would immediately sell the products for half the price, then drop out of contact with the suppliers.
Investigating officials also informed that a year ago, Moshiur had purchased Tk57 lakh worth of cement from a large corporation, and has only paid back around Tk17 lakh so far.
However, this conman's schemes were not limited to large corporations only. Staying true to his entrepreneurial spirit, Moshiur decided to expand outside Dhaka. He had allegedly bought corn, wheat and other agricultural goods from businessmen and farmers in Sirajganj.
He would later sell the goods in the market and then leave without paying, ruining the lives of many farmers.
Other umbrella organizations under Abrar Traders and Jahan Group had also scammed crores of taka from unsuspecting companies and businessmen, who had put their faith on Moshiur. The reason for that trust, according to his victims, were his fancy offices.