Police nab mastermind behind CPO scam

PETALING JAYA: Police has detained the mastermind behind a syndicate that cheated hundreds of victims of more than RM31 million through a so-called crude palm oil (CPO) investment scheme.

Police Commercial Crimes Investigations Department (CCID) director Commissioner Datuk Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani said the raiding party arrested the main suspect in a restaurant in Penang today.

"Following the arrest of a 35-year-old suspect, who we believe the son of the mastermind, the CCID team managed to track the mastermind and arrested him in Penang at 4pm," Acryl Sani said in a statement today.

It is learnt that more police reports was lodged by disgruntled investors after newspaper reports on Tuesday.

On Tuesday, theSun reported a suspect was arrested and three luxury cars – a Nissan GT-R, a Lamborghini Aventador and a Porsche Panamera – as well as two luxury motorcycles – a Harley-Davidson Fatboy and a BMW GS1200 – were seized.

Also seized were land titles, vehicle registration documents, computers and more than RM60,000 in local and Indonesian currency.

The initial arrest and seizures were made in the Klang Valley after police received 248 police reports from disgruntled investors.

The syndicate had offered its investors three investment plans ranging from RM1,885 to RM16,422 for between one and 10 metric tonnes of CPO, promising them returns of between 15% and 30% payable every 12th working day.

In the beginning, when they started the scheme in early 2016, the syndicate paid profits to their investors, we believe, to lure and win their trust.

However, when more investments poured in, the syndicate wound up operations and fled with about RM31 million it had received.

Over the last year, under the pretext of running foreign currency, commodities and products trading, various syndicates have fleeced tens of thousands of people of hundreds of millions in ringgit with promises of high profits for their investments. But such schemes were merely Ponzi or pyramid scams.

While the "first generation" investors would usually get some of the promised profits, the majority of downline members, were often left in the lurch when the syndicate members wind up operations and make off with the money.