Indian traders could be bankrupted in $1 million Dubai fruit scam
Fraudsters in Dubai have could have bankrupted a number of exporters in India following a scam that saw hundreds of tonnes of fruit stolen, according to media reports on Thursday.
Traders in India were conned out shipping 810 tonnes of tomatoes, pomegranates, coconuts, grapes, chillies to conmen who opened a business in Dubai's Deira district, Gulf News reported.
They were paid between 25 to 30 percent of the total sum for the fruit exports with fraudsters promising to send the rest of the amount between one and three weeks of delivery.
Weeks later and with still no more payments, the exporters sounded the alarm only to discover that the staff in Dubai mysteriously disappeared with their phones switched off.
The men - said to be from Pakistan - are believed to have made off with over $1 million worth of produce in the scam, which was likely sold to third party traders before they vanished.
The 18 traders - mostly new entrants to the market - said as a result, they have lost their life savings.
"Our lives have been shattered overnight," said Poornima Patil, owner of Maharashtra-based PVIP Exports, told Gulf News.
"I invested 20 years of my savings into this deal. When it was not enough, I mortgaged my house and jewellery and borrowed from money lenders. I don’t know what I am going to do."
Patil lost around $181,480 in pomegranates and grapes in the scam.
In total, more than 200,000 bananas, 14,000 boxes of green chilis and 100 tonnes of grapes.
Similar acts of fraud have happened before in the UAE, including a scam including $4.2 million in rice.