POLICE in Harare have arrested a suspected conman for allegedly swindling 510 people of more than US$2 million in a fake financial investment scam.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi confirmed the arrest of Silas Chimuka (41).
“In April 2018, the suspect misrepresented to an apostolic church gathering that he was in the financial investment business with the ability to give 500 to 700 percent return on capital invested,” he said.
Asst Comm Nyathi said in November last year, one of the victims handed over US$9 000 to Chimuka as her investment capital.
“She was issued with a receipt and was promised a return of US$45 000 payable in February 2019,” he said. “The other complainant gave the suspect his capital investment of US$14 000 in December 2018 and was promised to get US$72 000 in April 2019.”
Asst-Comm Nyathi said upon the maturity of their respective timelines, the two tried to engage Chimuka over their pay-outs that were now due, but they failed to locate him.
His mobile number was unreachable.
“The two complainants made reports to the police and on 4 October 2019, 25 more complainants filed reports as the amount prejudice stood at US$129 845,” said Asst-Comm Nyathi.
“The number of complainants is now 510, with the actual prejudice being $2 004 844. The accused was arrested.”
Asst Comm Nyathi urged people who could fallen prey to Chimuka to contact CID Commercial Crimes Division for assistance.
“We urge members of the public not to engage in shoddy deals which appear too good and lucrative to resist, yet they are dubious,” he said. “Members of the public should exercise due diligence before parting with their money.”
Meanwhile, a Bulawayo man reportedly lost thousands of dollars in a case of cyber theft over the weekend.
“The complainant received an SMS on his mobile phone purportedly from his bank followed by a phone call instructing him to respond to the text message,” said Asst Comm Nyathi.
“Large sums of money were immediately withdrawn from his bank account after he responded to the text message.
“Upon checking with the bank, it turned out that the bank was not involved in the transactions.”
Asst-Comm Nyathi urged people to ignore requests to change their pin numbers over the phone, but to personally request such services from their banks.