Dubai expat loses Dh1.8 million after all four businesses hit by scammers at same time – Khaleej Times

Mon, Jul 01, 2024 | Dhu al-Hijjah 25, 1445
Published: Thu 27 Jun 2024, 6:00 AM
Last updated: Thu 27 Jun 2024, 7:36 PM
An Indian businessman in Dubai has been left shocked and devastated after all four of his business ventures reportedly fell prey to serial scammers within days, resulting in total losses of more than Dh1.8 million.
Mirza Iliaz Baig — who manages Iveond Consultancy, IRA Travel and Tourism, and a general trading company with divisions in foodstuff and building materials — claimed his businesses were recently hit by five fraudulent companies simultaneously.
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According to him, Iveond Consultancy, which supplies laptops, LED TVs, and hard disks, faced the most substantial loss of Dh958,970. IRA Travel and Tourism was defrauded of Dh648,000, and IRA General Trading and Foodstuff, which supplied onions and sanitary ware, lost Dh200,315.
The fraudulent companies – Digital Genius Technologies, Daemo International, Noor Al Sidra Trading, Fair Words Goods Trading, and Wahat Al Rayan Trading – have vanished, leaving behind numerous other complainants. These firms used a common method – purchasing goods and services with post-dated cheques that eventually bounced.
“I’m devastated,” Baig said. “It’s surreal. I have four businesses in different sectors, yet they were all scammed. I don’t know how I can recover from these losses.”
Baig’s ordeal began when Digital Genius Technologies approached IRA Travel and Tourism to book flight tickets and hotels worth Dh319,000.
“I thought business was booming when Digital Genius gave us post-dated cheques for the 15th, and 30th or 31st, with a credit period of 30 to 45 days for each cheque. They also provided a security cheque of Dh200,000,” Baig recounted.
During the same period, four other companies also used services from IRA Travel and Tourism.
Documents obtained by Khaleej Times indicate that the travel firm processed 139 orders, including flight tickets to various destinations such as London, Toronto, Los Angeles, Istanbul, Kolkata, and Kuala Lumpur. The bookings included five-star hotel stays and experiences like desert safaris, Atlantis Aquaventure, and Burj Khalifa visits.
Of all the post-dated cheques received, only one, worth Dh92,979, was honoured; the rest bounced.
Four of the five fraudulent firms targeted more than one of Baig’s companies. “I suspect they were linked since they approached us within a few days of each other and disappeared simultaneously. It seems they were working together,” Baig said.
His biggest creditor is Digital Genius, which operated from Al Nahda in Dubai. Besides the Dh265,000 owed for hotel and flight bookings, the company also bought 40 Samsung screens, 100 tablets, 200 AirPods, 40 digital cameras, 20 projectors, 100 routers, and 30 MacBooks worth around Dh772,800. The goods were delivered to the company’s warehouse.
Another businessman who supplied cashew nuts to Noor Al Sidra Trading reported losses of Dh110,000. “There are many of us in the same situation,” he said. The goods bought with these bounced cheques are typically sold for cash at lower prices.
Baig has filed a police complaint and is now contemplating the future of his businesses. “It’s a big financial blow. I may have to close one of my businesses,” he said.
Meanwhile, another company, Max Clove Technologies, abruptly shut down its offices in Al Mina Street and warehouse in Al Quoz on May 13, disappearing with goods estimated to be valued at over Dh40 million.
SM, who runs a trading company in Dubai, said, “I supplied building materials worth Dh45,000. Nearly 100 individuals in our WhatsApp group are dealing with much larger losses, some as high as Dh1 million each.”
Many others, like Mohammad Risath from Sri Lanka who dealt with Max Clove, shared his ordeal with Khaleej Times, stating, “I’ve been left with dud cheques worth around Dh40,000 for laptops and other computer-related equipment.”
Asbis (Dh477,483), Bright Apollo Technology (Dh200,000), Wbio Computer (Dh92,000), Advance Reader Technology (Dh75,000), and NAS Electronics (Dh40,355) are among numerous companies facing losses after being reportedly hit by Max Clove Technologies.
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