Cops try to decode modus operandi of syndicate that honey-traps victims

In his complaint, the victim told the police that he met one Erica Hernandez on a social networking site and they soon exchanged phone numbers. After a few days, Hernandez called up the complainant – using a number starting with +44, which is the ISD code for UK – and expressed her desire to come to India and visit the complainant’s residence during the tour. Soon, Hernandez also informed that she was supposed to land in Mumbai on November 21, 2014, and come to Delhi on the same day, said the police source.

On November 21, 2014, the complainant received a call from a woman, who claimed to be from the ‘Anti-Money Laundering Department’ of the United Nations. She allegedly informed the complainant that custom officials had detained Hernandez at Mumbai Airport for carrying cash that was not accounted for, and demanded two instalments of Rs 25,000 and Rs 35,000 – to be deposited in two separate bank accounts pertaining to different individuals in Lucknow – for the release of Hernandez. 

The complainant was convinced, as the caller had connected her to Hernandez, who could be heard wailing over the phone. He got Rs 60,000 transferred.

After around five hours, when the self-proclaimed UN officials asked for another instalment of Rs 92,500, the complainant turned suspicious and refused. Then, he enquired the bank about the details of the account to which he had sent money, and later realised that he was duped. He kept the matter to himself for months and finally reported it to police on June 3 and an FIR was registered at the Vasant Vihar police station in south Delhi, said the police source.

In April 2015, the Crime Branch of Delhi Police busted a similar <g data-gr-id="39">syndicate,</g> after they arrested a woman and his Nigerian associate for duping an Arunachal Pradesh-based doctor using the same modus operandi. Interestingly, in that case the woman – who was later identified as one Anita from Delhi – also introduced herself as Miss Hernandez from UK, and had allegedly called the doctor to Delhi to sell him a <g data-gr-id="37">life saving</g> drug. During interrogation, the duo claimed to have cheated several professionals in Delhi and other metro cities.

However, Crime Branch officials could not confirm whether it is the same gang which could be continuing its operations in Delhi.

Within one week of the police stumbling upon the aforementioned case, the Special Cell of Delhi Police busted another such syndicate. This time, a woman from Nagaland and her Nigerian associate, who claimed to be a bachelor from UK and was reportedly looking for a prospective bride, had honey-trapped a Delhi-based woman, who works as an executive in an MNC.
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