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Business News/ News / NRI woman falls prey to ICICI Bank's fraud official, gets duped of 16 crore: ‘We deposited our entire….’
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NRI woman falls prey to ICICI Bank's fraud official, gets duped of ₹16 crore: ‘We deposited our entire….’

An ICICI Bank account manager has been accused of duping an NRI woman of ₹16 crore. The victim deposited her life savings in ICICI for higher interest and instead fell victim to forged documents and fake accounts, losing all her money.

ICICI bank's account manager deceived NRI woman by forging documents and manipulating bank records to extort money.Premium
ICICI bank's account manager deceived NRI woman by forging documents and manipulating bank records to extort money.

An Indian woman who used to live in the United States and Hong Kong has accused an account manager at one of the largest private banks in India of engaging in fraudulent activities and duping her of 16 crore.

The victim, Shveta Sharma, who fell prey to ICICI Bank's fraudulent employee, informed BBC that she had transferred money to her bank account in India from her US account to invest in fixed deposits that offered an interest rate of 5.5% to 6% since the interest rate on bank deposits in the US was negligible.

Also read: Value of frauds in banking transactions spiked 10 times in 10 years, shows RBI data

She alleged that the bank official, introduced to her by a friend, created “fake accounts, forged her signature, took out debit cards and cheque books in her name", and convinced her to invest in FDs in India just to extort money from her accounts, as per BBC. This went on for four years, from September 2019 to December 2023, until the scam surfaced in early January when another bank employee offered to get better returns on her money. 

Also read: ICICI Bank branch manager withdrew money from deposits for years to meet business targets: Report

 

This led to her discovering that all her fixed deposits had vanished and there was a 2.5 crore overdraft taken on one of the deposits. 

“Our customers are our utmost priority, and we are wholeheartedly dedicated to safeguarding their interests. In this case too, we will ensure that the customer’s financial interests are protected. In fact, we have communicated to the customer that we are ready to transfer the disputed amount of 9.27 crore (she has already encashed a fixed deposit of 2 crore) to her account with a lien, pending the outcome of the investigation," ICICI Bank said in a statement to Mint.

"Typically, we refrain from commenting on ongoing investigations. However, in response to the insinuations raised in your queries, which you got from the customer, we would like to draw your attention to the following points:

  1. The Bank has consistently sent transaction details to her registered mobile number and email id since the accounts were opened a few years ago. It is bewildering that the customer claims to be unaware of these transactions and balances in her account over the past three years, and she only recently noticed a discrepancy in her account balance. This discrepancy ought to have been observed by the customer when filing Income Tax returns as well.

2. She alleges that the mobile number and email ID of her account were changed without her knowledge. However, our records indicate that notifications regarding both changes were sent to her original mobile number and email address which were registered with the Bank. Furthermore, the new number is listed on the website of a company owned by the customer herself," said the ICICI Bank statement.

A spokesman for the bank also admitted to the fraud and said, "Whoever is involved will be punished," reported BBC.  Despite the bank's assurances to resolve the issue within two weeks, more than six weeks have passed since she raised the complaint.

Also read: Mobile banking fraud: 4 things to do to keep your account secure

The victim, who returned to India in 2016 after living for years in the US and Hong Kong, said, "He gave me fake statements, created a fake email ID in my name and manipulated my mobile number in the bank records so I won't get any withdrawal notifications," reported BBC

Shveta Sharma opened an NRE account in 2019 meant for non-resident Indians, on the bank official's advice after visiting the ICICI's branch in old Gurugram. She said, "Over a period of four years from September 2019 to December 2023, we deposited our entire life savings of around 13.5 crore in the bank," reported BBC.

The woman claimed that she deposited her entire life savings in the bank and presumed that with interest, the sum would have grown to more than 16 crore. The fraud continued for so long as she regularly received proper receipts and email statements for all the deposits on the bank's stationery.

Citing sources, BBC reported that ICICI Bank's statement in response to the fraud allegations, states that they have offered to deposit 9.27 crore into the victim's account with a lien, depending on the outcome of the investigation.

"Further, as an aggrieved party, we have lodged a complaint with the Economic Offences Wing (EoW) of Delhi Police for a thorough investigation into the matter which appears to be much more than meets the eye. We are extending full co-operation to the Police investigation," said ICICI Bank statement.

 

 

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Published: 26 Feb 2024, 03:25 PM IST
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