Bengaluru man becomes ‘cyber crook’ after losing money in online lottery scam


A man who lost money in an online lottery scam has teamed up with the kingpin to defraud many people and make up for his loss.

Appaji Gangaram Halkekar, 30, from Khanapur working as a cook at Kempegowda International Airport, had believed online scammers when they told him he had won the lottery. He paid thousands of rupees in the name of processing fees but got nothing in return. But that wasn’t the end.

A few months ago, a man named Harsheed called Halkekar in order to trick him with the lottery scam. Halkekar called his bluff and told him he had already lost money.

Harsheed then asked Halkekar to join him and together they can fool many people. This way, Halkekar could also get his money back. The idea pleased Halkekar, and he came on board.

Harsheed asked Halkekar to open bank accounts in the name of his friends and offer them a commission. Halkekar asked two of his friends – Suresh Mallappa Agasara, 35, also from Khanapur, and Mahantesh, 30, from Gadag – to open up to 15 bank accounts. Harsheed offered them a commission of Rs 3,000 for every lakh earned from the scam.

With this setup in place, Halkekar began calling random people, luring them in with the non-existent lottery money.

Harsheed also installed a clone app for WhatsApp using Halkekar’s phone number to receive OTP and other details.

Profitable scam

The scam became so profitable that Halkekar, Agasara and Mahantesh earned Rs 3 lakh in commission.

CEN Southeast Criminal Police began tracking the gang after a Hanumantharayappa filed a complaint. He said he transferred Rs 75,000 to various bank accounts as a processing fee for an online lottery prize. A stranger had called him and told him that he had won Rs 35 lakh in a raffle. But Hanumantharayappa never received the promised lottery money.

When the police checked the bank accounts Hanumantharayappa had transferred the money to and the phone number to which he had received the calls, they zeroed in on Halkekar and his friends.

Police are now pursuing Harsheed, who fled after promising to attend Halkekar’s wedding a few days ago. He never showed up.


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