A young woman from Chennai was arrested on Thursday for allegedly cheating and swindling people of large sums of money.
When singer Devan Ekambaram put up a Facebook post about the fraud that she has committed along with photographs, several others came forward to share stories of how they had been cheated too.
Swetha Suresh (29), the mother of a three year old, allegedly approached people on social media and her circle in real life, claiming that she could help them book airline tickets at low cost.
Not just the singer, sources in Central Crime Brnach said that she had allegedly duped many including celebrities like S Ve Sekhar.
Swetha, a resident, of Madipakkam, was arrested and case filed under IPC section 406 (criminal breach of trust) and 420 (fraud) and sent to Puzhal prison after she was remanded to judicial custody.
The police are also investigating the involvement of another woman based in another city.
She would befriend the person, win their trust, and later offer to buy them tickets at discounts or arrange an international tour package for them. Victims claim that they have lost several thousands in the scam.
Some of the tickets were fraudulent or expired said a police source. However, police were reluctant to give more details as no money has been recovered from her yet.
Devam Ekambaram wrote, “Just wanted to inform Chennai based people about a fraudulent transaction I got entangled in mid last year. One Mrs Swetha Suresh (NOT the famous whistling champion ) has been contacting many media related people over the past few years and soliciting business class tickets ( mostly on Emirates ) at highly discounted rates. I was among many who fell for the discount and lost a lakh (recovered though). Mine was a meager amount compared to some senior media people who got cheated 25 lakhs plus. Hopefully others who lost their hard earned money.”
With the post going viral with people sharing the same on many social media groups, it’s astonishing how many have been approached by Swetha. From the screenshots of interactions that people have posted between them and Swetha, one can see a pattern emerge: Swetha being persuasive in the beginning, playing the victim card later and then ignoring the person who is asking for their money.
Speaking to The News Minute, a complainant said, “From January, 2015, Swetha Suresh was asking me to book an Emirates flight ticket through her. She was giving round trip anywhere in the world for Rs 1,25,000. In 2016, July end, I booked a ticket but when I tried to do online check-in on the Emirates website, it said that this ticket does not exist. I contacted her and asked her to return the money.”
A comment on Devan’s thread says: “She is not my friend but got introduced herself as my friend’s friend and was prompt in messaging on mom’s group. She wanted me transfer money last week to her or her husband’s account. She also insisted to buy tickets for Swizz or Mauritius trip. I didn’t encourage her presence but felt bad about my attitude. Now, no regrets.”
Another person said, “Good to know she’s behind bars. Though we got our money back, many of our friends have not got it. They were simply patient because of all the things she said and her misleading appearance.”
Another story shared in the same thread: “I got introduced through my friend who said will get business class tickets for 1.2 lakhs return from anywhere to anywhere. I booked and went to LA in Nov 15, onward was perfect and while returning after online check in; my ticket was cancelled by Swetha when I re-logged in to check on my chauffeur booking 4-5 hours before the flight. I had a local connection from Vegas to LA and this woman made me wait till my flight was about to take off and said it was too late in India and can’t do anything. I spent 5400$ on my onward one-way ticket and bought it while flying on air thanks to the in-flight WiFi. Only when I boarded the flight and woke up after a short nap, I could realise the nightmare I had gone through and what could actually have happened.”
Source: The News Minute