Monday, Dec 05, 2022

ED Raids 12 Entities Linked To Chinese App That Defrauded Indians With Part-Time Job Offers

ED Raids 12 Entities Linked To Chinese App That Defrauded Indians With Part-Time Job Offers

The app Keepsharer tasked people with part-time jobs of liking and uploading celebrity videos on social media. Later, the app vanished with dues.

Enforcement Directorate (ED)
Enforcement Directorate (ED) PTI

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has raided 12 entities linked to a Chinese compamy that defrauded Indians and seized Rs 5.85 crores held by these entities.

The ED is investigated a Chinese-controlled app Keepsharer which offered Indians jobs and allegedly duped people in lieu of providing them part-time jobs that included "liking" and uploading celebrity videos on social media platforms.

The ED said on Monday it has raided at least 12 entities in Bengaluru that are linked to the app. Its investigation found: "Gullible public, mostly youth, were cheated by some Chinese persons through a mobile app namely Keepsharer which promised them to give part-time job and collected money from them."

The Chinese formed companies here and recruited several Indians as directors, translators (Mandarin to English and vice-versa), HR managers and tele-callers, said the ED

It said, They obtained the documents of Indians and opened bank accounts. The accused Chinese persons developed the app and started its advertisement through WhatsApp and Telegram. This app was linked with an investment app and for registration on the former, they collected money from the youth."

The accused also collected money from people in the name of investment through this app, while the youth were given the task of liking the videos of celebrities and uploading them on social media.

"When the task was completed, they used to pay Rs 20 per video which was credited in the Keepsharer wallet. For some time, the money got credited, but later the app was removed from the play store. Thus, the public was cheated of their investment and the remuneration to be paid which ran into crores of rupees," said the ED.

The ED said the money collected through this "scam" was routed from the bank accounts of some Bengaluru-based companies and then converted into crypto currency and transferred to China-based crypto exchanges.

"All the transactions were under control of Chinese persons through phone and WhatsApp groups," it said.

The money laundering case stems from an FIR registered in Bengaluru and a subsequent chargesheet where the police had said that out of 92 accused, six were Chinese and Taiwanese citizens "who were controlling the entire scam". 

This is the latest round of raids by the ED against Chinese companies, which is also investigating a number of Chinese-controlled apps for predatory lending. The ED has seized around Rs 55 crores of these apps.

Besides unethical operations, such Chinese loan apps utilised loopholes in the regulations and often operated in violation of existing rules and regulations. Such apps mushroomed during the Covid-19 pandemic as people faced financial issues and needed quick cash and these apps lent money for periods ranging from a week to 30 days. They would charge high interest rates and processing fees. Moreover, these apps would harass the users over the repayment of their dues, leading to reported incidents of dozens of suicides. 

"Through these apps, fraudsters target the low income groups or the not-so savvy financial people, wherein smaller amount of money is lent. The modus operandi usually involves deduction of processing fees from the loan, combined with penalties, and at significantly higher rates of interest in cases of delay in payments," said KV Karthik of Deloitte India to IANS.

(With PTI inputs)