Guile, greed and bloated bank accounts
Sohidul Islam is a mason by profession, who works on various contractual jobs at construction sites.
From March 15 last year to August 28 of this year, one of his bank accounts showed that he had a transaction of around Tk 2.37 crore.
Sohidul has five accounts in three banks and the total transaction of these accounts in last one year is around 5.27 crore.
Similarly, Sajib Ahmed is an egg trader. He maintains around 21 accounts in different banks, which show a transaction of around Tk 3.02 crore in one year.
And finally, Sharif Hossain, an auto-rickshaw driver, has around 31 bank accounts and in the last three to four months, he made a transaction of around Tk 50 lakh.
Now the question arises, given their professions, how did they manage to tuck away that much money in so many bank accounts?
Turns out, both Sajib and Sharif were actually working for a woman named Morzina Akhter. She used to pay them Tk 1,500 each as commission for a transaction of Tk one lakh each time.
And Sohidul was their leader.
This ring was collecting this huge amount of money through cheating people across the country.
Police's detective branch (Gulshan Division) came up with the information following the arrest of Sajib, Sharif and Morzina from different areas of the capital on September 3.
Sohidul is on the run.
Detectives also seized around 47 cheque books, ATM cards and details of 70 bank accounts from their possession, Mashiur Rahman, deputy commissioner of DB (Gulshan division), told The Daily Star recently.
This newspaper also has copies of their bank accounts, which show the transactions.
Investigators said to trap people, they first became friends with various professionals on social media identifying themselves as foreign nationals.
Then they used to send them "expensive gifts" from abroad, which, according to them, used to "get stuck" at the customs.
Afterwards, a syndicate member, identifying him or her as a customs officials called the target and asked to pay a fee to release the gift package from the customs warehouse. That person also used to give the victim an account number to deposit the money.
Abul Bashar, a victim from Jhenidah, told law enforcers that he had deposited around Tk 3 lakh to different bank accounts given by the syndicate.
DC Mashiur Rahman said the syndicate have deceived around 100 people so far.
"The gang also forged documents to send to the victims. They used to communicate with each other through video calls using online applications," he said.
Mashiur further said bank officials need to be more vigilant. "How can a mason or egg trader have transaction of over crores of taka? They should have monitored that or questioned about it."
Contacted, Abu Hena Md Razi Hasan, head of Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU), told The Daily Star yesterday that it is the responsibility of the banks concerned to inform us if a suspicious transaction is found in any account, so that we can monitor that and inform law enforcers.
Meanwhile, investigators said Sohidul was arrested six times for fraudulence earlier, but after getting out on bail he got involved in such crimes again.
Morzina was in charge of collecting members for the gang. Early this year, she met egg trader Sajib and asked him to join their gang.
In primary interrogation, Morzina admitted that and said she used to open bank accounts through them. After opening the accounts, she used to give all the debit and credit cards and cheque books to Sohidul.
Meanwhile, two cases were filed against the arrestees with Mohammadpur and Tejgaon Police stations.
Mohammad Khalilur Rahman, assistant commissioner of DB (Gulshan division) police, said they are now looking for Sohidul and trying to find out other members of the fraud syndicate.