Mother-daughter duo misuses photos of sick child over crowdfunding fraud – The New Indian Express
KOCHI: City police arrested a mother and daughter on Friday for allegedly raising funds through a crowdfunding campaign by misusing the photo and details of a sick child admitted to a city hospital . Mariamma Sebastian, 59, from Pala, and her daughter Anitha T Joseph, 29, who live in an apartment in Eroor, were arrested.
The fraud came to light when Manmadhan Praveen, from Rayamangalam, stumbled upon a crowdfunding campaign in a Facebook group seeking money for the treatment of a girl. The photo used was of her daughter, who is admitted to Amrita hospital. Since a charity worker, Farook Cherpulassery, was running a similar campaign for his daughter, Praveen initially thought that campaign was part of it.
However, when a doctor he knew contacted him about the poster from the other campaign with his daughter’s photo on it, Praveen checked it and found a different account number mentioned on it. The details of Google Pay also belonged to someone else. Praveen immediately filed a complaint with Cheranalloor Police who launched a detailed investigation and arrested the two women.
The police are also looking for Arun, the son of Mariamma who is believed to be the mastermind of the fraud. “We caught the two defendants within 24 hours of receiving the complaint. The police team followed the FB page, bank account and Google Pay profile created by the accused. We froze the bank account they were using to receive the money, ”said ACP (Ernakulam Central) K Lalji. “We are trying to locate the son who is running away. His last cell phone location was in Chennai, ”said Cheranalloor Inspector Vipin Kumar K G.
The investigation revealed that the accused had withdrawn almost 1 lakh from the account used to receive money. “The account is in the name of Mariamma. Anitha says she has no role in the case and is preparing for the civil service exam, ”an officer said, adding that Arun had worked as a driver in different locations. “The family lives in a chic rented apartment. We are checking their source of income, ”the officer said.
MARIAMMA, ARUN HAVE CRIMINAL STORIES
A background check of Mariamma and her son Arun by Kochi Police revealed the duo’s criminal history. Police are checking details of a case in which Mariamma allegedly siphoned Rs 50 lakh from a cooperative society bank in Pala where she worked as a cashier, in 2018. Arun faces charges in a counterfeit money case.
He had previously been arrested for taking color photocopies of the 2,000 J note and depositing them in various cash machines in Ernakulam. Police said Anitha claimed she was preparing for the public service preliminary exam in addition to doing an internship for chartered accountancy training.