The Detective Branch of Dhaka Metropolitan Police on Tuesday arrested five members of a fraud gang who embezzled Tk2.57 crore from 637 bank accounts in the last three years by using an ingenious technique.
Police have not yet been able to arrest the leader of the gang Shaharuzzaman Rony, a senior officer of the IT Division of the Dutch Bangla Bank Limited (DBBL). Efforts were underway to find and arrest him, said AKM Hafiz Akter, additional commissioner of the Detective Branch, on Wednesday at a press briefing at the DMP media center.
Rony, the mastermind of the crime, has already left the country while the DBBL has filed a case against him. The police have found that there is still a large amount of money in Rony's wife Saima Akhtar's account.
The arrested were Saima Akhtar, Al-Amin Babu, Mehedi Hassan, Muhammad Mamun and Asaduzzaman Asad. Police arrested them from the Dhaka city and Narayanganj.
How the racket embezzled money
AKM Hafiz Akter said first the scammers targeted an industry which has a huge number of workers and pays salary through the DBBL. Then they collected the workers' NIDs and other documents required for opening bank accounts.
After that, the DBBL authority issued ATM cards in the name of account holders, but the frauds never provided the cards to the people whose names were used to open the accounts. Then they used those cards to embezzle money from the bank through the ATMs.
For every transaction, the ATMs send a message to the bank's main server. The ATMs' electronic journals capture all activities, such as transactions, settlement information and cash dispensation.
While withdrawing money from the ATM booths, members of the gang contacted Rony, who stopped the ATMs' messages from reaching the main server. Later he changed every message for successful cash withdrawal into a message of an unsuccessful transaction.
Then, the scammers called the bank's hotline and claimed that the bank has cut the balance but they did not get money from ATM booths. The group then collected reimbursement for the "unpaid" money.
A case under the Digital Security Act has been filed with Motijheel Police over the incident.
Moshiur Rahman, Chief IT officer of DBBL and plaintiff of the case, said they identified this crime during the audit. The customers did not lose their money. The scammers stole the bank's money.