Nepalis at home and abroad lose billions to online scam- HyperFund

Technology Khabar ३० जेष्ठ २०८१, बुधबार

Nepalis at home and abroad lose billions to online scam- HyperFund

काठमाडौं ।

On December 25, 2021, Baburam Kandel from Butwal was suggested by his friend from his village to join HyperFund, an online networking business.

Without thinking much about the new trade, he joined the bandwagon of digital business – only expecting the windfall.

Initially, Kandel invested 1,000 US dollars (equivalent to Rs 135,161.80 as per the current foreign exchange rate) but just in the next four months, he was drawn deeper into the scheme.

Kandel could draw some returns in the beginning which provided him a ground to engage further in the business. It evidently grew his enticement.

The people in the nexus would arrange Zoom meetings frequently with promises of more returns in case of more investments. The man who has turned 40 ended up investing personally around 10,000 USD in the Fund (equivalent to Rs 1,351,618.00).

It did not take a long time to result into the carrot and stick: He was encouraged in the beginning but gradually got bound to lose his savings to the scam. He conned his down line members as well.

Kandel reports that such scammers are now busy spreading their tentacles in the name of other online networking such as ‘SBG global’, MMIT, V-TABS, V-LIFE, and so on.

Kandel, who is currently living in the Maldives, talked to RSS in a virtual conservation. He shared that a large number of victims are hesitating to come forward to speak up about the fraud for fear that police would apprehend them for their involvement in the scam.

In the same light, Ranjana Shrestha, a Nepali nurse who has been living in the UK for over 18 years suffered multiple setbacks- economic, mental, and social- after losing millions of rupees. She squandered the money even from family members, friends, and colleagues to the business that turned into a disastrous scam. She was convinced by a friend of her spouse to invest in the fund on August 5, 2021, believing in his sincerity. Unaware that it was a scam, she persuaded her family members in Nepal to invest as well, hoping for rewarding proceeds.

Additionally, she also managed to persuade her colleagues to invest, and due to her reputable standing, she recruited several people and down liners. Gradually, she managed to persuade more of her family members and relatives to pour in money with full trust. Whenever she checked the website, she felt reassured as she tallied her deposits, believing that she would withdraw and use them at her convenience and need in future.

However, she and her down liners have not taken out any of the investments they poured in.

Horror struck, she said she is a part of a community that has also fallen victim to the scam and is hopeful for the support of the Nepal Police to recover their investments. “Although the financial loss can be quantified, the emotional, psychological, and social impact is immeasurable,” she shared the plight.

She and others in similar situations aim to raise awareness to prevent others from becoming victims of illegal financial schemes. The individual, in collaboration with her spouse, regularly attends meetings with other victims of this scam to ensure that those responsible are brought to justice. “I am dedicated to supporting all affected down line members and will be with them until achieving justice for all victims,” she said.

Such stories of gullibility and playing Russian roulette do not cease. DB Thapa, who has the experience of working at the civil engineering department for an airport in Dubai for 20 years, recently approached the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) with a complaint against the HyperFund operators. Thapa reportedly lost Rs 1.95 million including of his family members in the scam. He joined the scheme in August 2021 and came to know that it was just a ‘Scam’ after facing obstruction to access the withdrawal in April 2022.

The withdrawals were suspended and we (he was referring to his group members) realized that it was a Scam. As he said, they were told that their investments were safe till 2025 and the company was offering the biggest IPO.

He alleged that Nepali national Devi Pokhrel aka Roshan Pokhrel was engaged in sharing with the Nepalis about the shedloads of income from the scheme and it was Lalit Kumar Neupane, one of the masterminds, behind duping the Nepali citizens.

The UK-based networking business has its cabals globally. He accused the involvement of some other people such as Yogendra Milan Chhantyal and Kumar Gurung in luring and duping the Nepalis.

Thapa estimated the total loss suffered by Nepalis globally to exceed Rs 700 billion, leading to significant mental, social, and economic shocks on the victims.

Victims coming together

The people who have suffered at the hands of the HyperFund operators meet through Zoom meetings regularly, share their pains, and console each other with the determination to make the public aware of the scammers’ machinations and business.

Kandel says we need cooperation from the Nepal Police and Nepali media so that we can get justice. He wants the Nepal Police to check on all sorts of ‘illegal transactions’ from Nepal to the countries, which, as he argued, may be taking place in the form of legal online wallets.

Option for lodging complaint Online Spokesperson and Information Officer for the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) of Nepal Police, Superintendent of Police Hobindra Bogati, says they have so far apprehended one person Nanu Ghimire aka Kajal from Lalitpur who is accused of orchestrating fraud under the guise of HyperFund.

It has been reported that scammers would approach victims through Zoom meetings, luring them to invest just 1,000 US Dollars with the promise of returning over Rs 300,000 (3,000 US dollars) promptly in Nepal.

The fraud is assisted by blockchain technology. To date, the CIB has received complaints from 56 people of fraud over 79.05 million USD (79,538,651). As Bogati said, the website HyperFund would present high ratings by provoking people to like it more and more. He urged the alleged victims to visit the official website of CIB and lodge a complaint via the Gmail ID that is featured on its site.

“The CIB has provided an online option for registering the complaint.” According to Bogati, though joining an illegal online business is an offense and punishable by law, the Nepal Police assures that they will not be treated as defendants.

Understanding the circumstances, we have acknowledged that the alleged victims were duped into the scam and thus will not be held liable.

However, the Nepal Rastra Bank, the central bank regulator, has issued a statement mentioning clearly that all kinds of virtual currency, cryptocurrency including stablecoins, network marketing and HyberFund are illegal in Nepal, and any kind of transaction, use, involvement, membership, investment, ownership and mining are subject to legal action. RSS

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प्रकाशित: ३० जेष्ठ २०८१, बुधबार