Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Fraud - Part II

Now all I needed was a client who trusted us with enough of his dough. During my three years at the bank I had learnt enough ass-kissing to help me in my quest. Five asses and one year later I had landed my big fish. He was big alright. A 240 pounder who was in the construction business and had a net worth of Rs. 125 Cr. He wanted us to manage cash of Rs. 30 Cr. But he wasn't the clueless investor I imagined him to be. He did a thorough background check on me. But with six generations of employees in my family before me and the absence of even a parking ticket in my record, I passed with flying colours. He knew enough about investing also and didn't trust me with anything more complicated than money market funds. But my diligence and bespectacled servile look paid off and soon he was on friendlier terms with me.

One day, I hit the jackpot when I took him out for drinks on the bank's expense account. He spoke to me of the travails of the construction business and how tough it was to make an honest buck. I replied with fake admiration that it was always hard to make an honest billion. Once his proud laughter subsided, I suggested that it was always possible to convert the black into white. I had learnt enough in anti money laundering training at the bank to interest him. Channel some of your white money through an offshore special investment vehicle and you can simply add your black dough to it and show as profits. One can worry about tax when repatriating the cash. In the meantime, it is solid white money which can be used as leverage to borrow from the banks.

He seemed interested but I didn't expect him to remember our conversation when his body was done metabolizing the Ethanol. But during his call the next day was when I realized that I had a real shot at his money. He wanted to know more and I told him. The deal could not be done through our bank but I had enough connections to help him set up the SIV. I asked him if he had anyone he could trust with the proposed outfit in Mauritius and he said he didn't. After years of working in a cutthroat business, he had few friends. His family was not educated enough to help. So when he asked me to front his outfit in the Mauritius, I did all I could to sound afraid. But fifteen minutes of convincing was all I seemed to need.

My plan wasn't very complicated. I take his white money to Mauritius through an SIV and front a business. I make up fake bills and receipts to show that I am running a business. When he sends me his black money, I show it as profit after showing that our business had more in fake receipts than in fake bills. After a few small lots of black dough, he would trust me enough with one big lot. Now I show more in fake bills than fake receipts, take the large lot of black money plus a few bucks extra and vanish.

My plan seemed fail-proof until I started thinking about my getaway. Here is where most crooks get busted. I started my research while doing the paperwork for the SIV. I found out that India did not have an extradition treaty with many countries but it was Denmark that interested me the most. This was a small Scandinavian country where English was commonly spoken and scored on the soft side on almost all of Hofstede's dimensions. Though the chances of my client going to the police were miniscule, I was not willing to take any. There was another factor which I needed to consider. There is a parallel alternative system for those who can't go to the police but they are costly. They charged Rs. 12 Cr for all international assignments. So I decided to limit my greed to a little under $2mn to be on the safe side.

Soon the SIV was up and I was on my way to Mauritius with my wife. The fake business was up and thriving. I suggested to my boss that I needed to travel a bit to add to the authenticity of our business and he agreed. He wanted me to go to France and then it hit me. If I argued for Denmark and travelled there, what would stop the police from tracking me? Each time my passport gets stamped, the government will have a record. And my frequent travel to Denmark will be a very easy clue. So I agreed to France.

I spoke to a guy in the docks at Mauritius who agreed to help me get fake passports. Within a month, I had fake Mauritian passports. We were now Mr. and Mrs. Shastri, second generation NRIs on the island. There were quite a few Indians who lived in Mauritius. Enough to prevent suspicion. Once this was done, we began travelling to France and then by road to Denmark. I had learnt enough to make a copy of the French Visa and paste it on our fake passports. In Denmark, we were Mr. and Mrs. Shastri. After a few trips, we got to know a few people in Denmark and soon we had a small circle of friends who believed that I was a Mauritian businessman who dealt in interior decorative items. Carpets were my specialty. Soon, as I hoped, my guy brought in a big lot. Unsurprisingly the business made a small loss and I had my $2mn in unmarked cash. Apparently cash is easily hidden in carpets a big consignment of which was delivered to our friends in Denmark for storage.

In two days, Mr. and Mrs. M flew to Paris and then to Reims where their passports were found in a lake after a boating accident. Mr. and Mrs. Shastri then emerged at Brugge in Belgium with French Visas on their Mauritian passports. They then went on by road to Rotterdam. After a week of space brownies the couple was on their way by road to the island of Sylt in Denmark via Bremen and Kiel. At Sylt, Mr. and Mrs. Shastri found steaming cups of soup and their carpets in pristine condition waiting for them at their friend's home. The pangs of guilt that I expected never came. Now after ten years and one little boy, I am rich and Danish.

1 comment:

Subhash said...

Awesome buddy..
All the Best :)