London: BBC Asian Network’s Divya Talwar discovers hundreds of South Asians are being lured into bogus investment opportunities by professional Asian fraudsters.
“We had chosen a luxury villa in the heart of Dubai, with a private pool, gym and a grand balcony overlooking the sea and sand.”
What sounded like the ultimate holiday getaway was going to be Ria Sawar’s new home — a dream property on an affordable budget. It sounded too good to be true and it was.
Sitting in her three-bedroom west London home, Ria Sawar looked back at the glossy brochure of the apartments in Dubai that she was given to pick out her ideal villa from.
“It was a two-bed villa decorated with the finest marble and furniture,” she recalled.
“The retailer told me he would give me a discount on whatever I chose from the brochure.
“It was all so exciting; the property I had picked out was everything I had ever wanted.”
Ria Sawar transferred more than £50,000 to a man from a professional property company, only to realize later she had been conned.
“It all seemed so legitimate,” she explained. “The man had offices with staff working in them. The company had its own Web site and, what really sold it for me, was the fact that the company also advertised on Asian TV channels.
‘But a couple of months after I had given him the deposit, he went into hiding. He just disappeared.
“I realized there was no property in Dubai, there wasn’t even one brick that had been laid.
Scotland Yard says Asian criminals are deliberately targeting and conning individuals from their own backgrounds because they are seen as easier targets.
Mansoor Ahmed, from north London, thought he was securing the future of his family when he took up his investment opportunity.
Ahmed gave the investor £250,000 but he never got a penny back.
Scotland Yard is warning the Asian community to be aware of these criminals.