The arrested include Eremhen Smart (33), Kenny (32), Oloadeji Olayemi (34) – all three from Nigeria, Martin Nsamba (25), Jolly (23) and Tinah (23), from Uganda, and Vikram Rao Nikkam (40), from Bengaluru. Nikkam operates via.dom, a travel agency in the city. Rs 21.4 lakh in cash from them.
There are 14 people in the gang led by Hillary Kiegen, a Kenyan national. They are all at large and the police are on the lookout for them, DCP (East) Ajay Hilori told reporters on Saturday.
Jolly, a resident of Goa, had bought a magnetic card reader based on Martin’s directions. She had prepared a thin reader which resembled a plastic over. She had given it to the five African suspects in Bengaluru. The suspects had inserted the reader inside the passage of an ATM kiosk in Kammanahalli. They had also inserted the reader in other ATM kiosks.
The reader would store the data of credit and debits cards including Personal Identification Numbers (PIN) once they were inserted inside the kiosk. The suspects would remove the reader later, prepare duplicate credit and debit cards by transferring the data from the reader. They would withdraw cash from ATM kiosks using duplicate cards. They would also swipe the cards at business outlets for buying goods.
The gang struck a deal with Nikkam and transferred money they had withdrawn from various ATM kiosks to his account. Nikkam got a commission for each transaction, said the police.
The Banaswadi police received about 10 complaints of misuse of funds using fake cards. Based on definite leads, the police picked up Smart on January 17 in Bengaluru. During interrogation, he disclosed the modus operandi and revealed the involvement of five of his associates from Africa.
He also led the police to Nikkam’s office where police recovered Rs 2.64 lakh from him and froze Rs 2.40 lakh in his account. Based on Smart’s inputs, the police arrested four others.
Jolly was picked up from a KFC facility in Calangute beach, Mapusa, in Goa. Jolly claimed that she had destroyed the machine and had dumped it in lake in Dharivad.