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How people are defrauded under the very nose of authorities

How people are defrauded under the very nose of authorities

Jubok, MLMs like Destiny, e-commerce scams like Evaly are nothing new in Bangladesh. Recently, a Canadian company based in Dubai called MTFE has been accused of stealing around Taka 11 thousand crore from common people. It has been reported in the media that the organization has lured nearly 4.20 million people of the country into a fraud trap by tempting them to become rich overnight. There is already a lot of commotion going on in this incident of stealing thousands of crores of Taka from Bangladeshis in the name of online trading. The alleged firm was shut down after bilking customers of nearly a billion dollars in the name of investing in illegal crypto currencies. Multiple units of the law enforcement agencies have already started an investigation but interestingly none of the authorities concerned want to take responsibility for such a repeated incident.

According to media sources, the full form of MTFE is Metaverse Foreign Exchange Group, a trading broker of various foreign currencies, indices, commodities, stocks and crypto markets! MTFE is essentially not a business, but a gambling platform. Here those who open accounts and become customers, invest money, their intention is not to buy products, but to buy an artificial product and indirectly participate in gambling. The purpose of which is to sell when its value increases later. The virtual goods bought and sold herein have never been acquired or intended to be acquired. Rather, the main purpose was to defraud the profit or loss at the end of the fixed period in the name of sharing. It is known that this company used to do business in multilevel marketing or MLM model. A significant number of people invest in the company from India and Bangladesh. About 90 percent of the $1 billion invested is from Bangladeshi investors. At least 4.20 million people invested in MTFE through the trap app. The victims are blaming a person named Masood of Comilla, a resident of Dubai, in the incident.

According to MTFE data, a total of 8 lakh accounts have been opened from Bangladesh on their fraud app. Not only Bangladesh, Bangladeshis working in countries like Dubai, Oman, Qatar Saudi Arabia have also invested huge amount of money in MTFE. Interestingly they don't have any office in Bangladesh and their app is so tempting that there is no chance or option to lose. In the beginning, by making various apps, they start adding money to the main account through bKash in the apps or through Nagad. After that the deposit starts once you activate an option weekly. The more people (referrals) below that, the more income he has. If 9,000 dollars is deposited, that person is made the CEO of that area. He received an additional commission of 3,000 dollars. In this regard, the cyber security experts have been warning about this platform for a long time. But people fell into the trap of greed and were giving money here. A few days ago, it was known that those who were giving money here could no longer withdraw money. MTFE has shut down their system.

In fact, even though MLM was born in a good sense, MLM companies have been looting the common people by cheating them for more than two centuries in Bangladesh. As of 2009, about 70 MLM companies have made their debut in Bangladesh. Since then MLM company approval in Bangladesh has been stopped. However, only from 2009 to 2012, about 1,500 MLM companies were born in Bangladesh as private companies. Since the death of one MLM company called Unipay, there has been a silent explosion of new MLM companies. The Ministry of Commerce does not have any specific information about what kind of products and services are being sold at what price by the fake companies called MLM or Direct Sale Company. BSTI, the government quality control body, is not well aware of the quality of these products and services. Many lucrative MLM companies are trapped in business only with a trade license or a registration from the Registrar of the Joint Stock Companies.

When Destiny-2000 Ltd. was about to close, they launched a project named "Tree Plantation Ltd" from June 2006 under a different name. Even though there is no tree project planned, they collect Tk. thousands of crores from people in the name of investing in trees. They used to give a tree certificate with every investment. But when it was seen that they were selling tree certificates for projects in which trees have not yet been planted. Later, when it was disclosed about this in the media, they ended it only with the receipt of money deposit without giving the certificate. In the same manner, Newway, Euro Tree Plantation and TCL later launched MLM company "Tree Plantation Ltd:" to extort Taka thousands of crores from people.

MTFE, a multi-level marketing company, has taken money from people by appointing agents in Bangladesh. Banks and financial transaction systems of Bangladesh have used Nagad, bKash. But now none of the government agencies are willing to take responsibility after the fraud incident. There are laws in Bangladesh for multilevel marketing or MLM business, but there is no authorized institution. Still, questions have been raised as to how MTFE managed to make money by doing such business. The government's Ministry of Commerce, which is in charge of oversight, informed the media that they could not comment on the matter. Bangladesh Bank says Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) is responsible for looking into the matter. The interesting thing is that no organization of the state wants to take the responsibility of such fraud after the fraud is revealed.

Even before this, there are big cases of fraud in the name of MLM and e-commerce in Bangladesh. In 2006, the issue of irregularities in the Youth Employment Society (Jubok) came to light. Nobody got any money back on Destiny either. Knowing this incident, a large number of people got trapped in the similar net of Unipetuyu. According to the commerce ministry of the government and the accounts of cheated customers, about Tk. 22,000 crore are trapped in the trap of fraud with MLM companies and e-commerce companies. The number of victims of these institutions is about one crore. The government has investigated the cases of fraud many times, constituted a commission, showed the way to return the money, many cases have been filed but people have not got the money back, no proper remedy, instruction or solution. Those concerned say that at least 1,000 institutions like MTFE have penetrated the remote of the society. Some are cheating people in the name of multipurpose society, some e-commerce, some land buying and selling or MLM, but the government is taking it lightly. First the Jubok, MLM like Destiny, later on e-commerce like Evaly and now cryptocurrencies (virtual currency) like MTFE, youths are attracted to earn money. There is a need for research on why this is happening. For the time being, the government has no choice but to launch a massive campaign to prevent these investments, but the government is not doing that. People also need to be aware. It is nothing but foolishness to step into any new trap in the hope of excessive greed. One should think a hundred times before such a risky investment. But the question is how many more people will be cheated and destitute, people will lose sleep or the authorities concerned will pay heed!

The writer is a Banker and Columnist