3 March 2017: Police in Melbourne have finally caught up with a reckless fraudster whose specialty was defrauding fresh and unsuspecting international students from Nepal and India. The man posed as an employer or job agent and robbed the victims, majority from Nepal, of whatever little cash their parents had sent them to Australia with.
The fraudster, who victims claim is from the Indian state of Punjab, trawled inexperienced jobseekers through Gumtree. In some cases, students would be called within minutes of posting their profiles on the popular website.
The southasia.com.au had been tracking a Facebook group chat of the victims for months wherein they were beginning to grow extremely restless while the alleged offender continued to target other victims. Deepa Rai and Sam Nepal, two local community leaders in Melbourne, helped the young men and women approach Victoria Police who, it is understood, had been leading their investigations into the deceptions for months now.
An email from the investigating officer to Ms Rai confirms that the man has been arrested but is out on bail. He is due to appear at the Werribee Magistrates Court on May 31 on “numerous deceptions and fraud”, the email said.
The man had various names, “Harry” being the most frequently used and he was gifted in the art of tricking students. Speaking to southasia.com.au last October, one of his victims said he was so good that he could make anyone friends within seconds. “When you are talking to him, he makes you feel so good,” the female victim had said at the time. Students completely believed the man when he would tell them that they would have to get certificates of various kinds before they actually got the job. Inexperienced in the way jobs are applied in Australia, they would trust him and send money through Cardless Cash. He would convince them they would have to send money then and there — hence, the Commonwealth Bank’s app was a boon for the fraudster.
Police have urged other potential victims of the man to come forward and report to Victoria Police.