Ponzi Scheme: ED attaches Heera Group’s Rs 300 Crore assets in Five States and Delhi

Hyderabad: On Friday, Enforcement Directorate (ED) has attached a total of Rs 299.9 crores of which 96 immovable properties value is Rs. 277.2 crore and Rs. 22.6 crore amount in bank accounts. According to the official statement released by ED, all the assets belong to NowheraShaiks’sHeera Group Companies and others spread across multiple states under the provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA) in a Ponzi fraud.

ED tweeted “ED attaches under PMLA, 96 immovable properties in Telangana, Kerala, Maharashtra, Delhi & Andhra Pradesh worth 277.29 crore & balances in bank A/cs worth 22.69 crore totalling to 299.98 crore of Nowhera Shaik of Heera Group of Companies & others in a #ponzischeme case (sic).”

Based on the FIRs registered by Central Crime Station, Hyderabad, Telangana & Andhra Pradesh Police against Nowhera Shaik, ED started an investigation.

The FIRs filed against Nowhera Shaik on the allegation of by Central Crime Station, Hyderabad, Telangana & Andhra Pradesh Police against Nowhera Shaik.

During the investigation, it is found that “Nowhera Shaik incorporated multiple companies under the Heera Group of Companies and collected an amount of approximately Rs. 5600 Crore as unauthorized deposits from around 1.72 lakh depositors (IBG Members) across the country by engaging a network of marketing executives and direct selling agents with a false promise of paying a high rate of returns i.e. 3% per month (36% per year). She floated multiple schemes and extensively advertised the schemes to lure the victims,” said ED. 

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To do all these illicit activities, according to ED, Nowhera Shaik used 182 bank accounts different banks at different parts of the countries in the name of 24 entities that she has started. Another 10 bank accounts were also opened in foreign countries such as United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, etc. For collecting these deposits, Nowhera Shaik has no valid permission either under the Banking Regulation Act, Companies Act, RBI Act or from any other government agency such as SEBI, etc.

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The Gold, Food, and Textile trading businesses owned by Nowhera is only “to create the impression that she is earning legitimate profits, but in reality, the payouts to the new members were simply being funded from the cash flows generated from new members/investments. The volume of business in her Gold, Textile & Food marts was minuscule and not sufficient to justify the high returns promised by her. Nowhera Shaik along with her family members and close associates diverted the depositor’s money to their accounts and amassed huge movable and immovable assets for wrongful personal gain. The diverted funds were further layered into various shell companies and in the form of Benami assets to ultimately cheat lacs of innocent victims and to launder these crime proceeds for personal benefit,” said ED in an official statement.

“Further investigation is on to identify the remaining proceeds of crime,” said ED.

Earlier in 2018, Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has announced that Heera Group Company activities are Ponzi scheme.

Samanth Lanka

Samanth Lanka is a graduate from IIJNM. He has interned with BBC Telugu.

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