Mumbai, February 27: A US-returned woman has accused an ICICI Bank branch manager of cheating her of Rs 16 crore by engaging in fraudulent activities. The woman, Shveta Sharma, had returned to India from the US in 2016 and had transferred her life savings from her US account to ICICI Bank, expecting to earn interest on fixed deposits.

Sharma told the BBC that she met the branch manager, who has not been named, through a friend. He advised her to invest her money in fixed deposits that offered an interest rate of 5.5% to 6%, which was higher than the rate in the US. He also assured her that he would handle all the paperwork and formalities. Investment Fraud in Mumbai: Diamond Trader, His Wife Dupe Malabar Hill Resident of Rs 2.83 Crore on Promise of Higher Returns on Investments; Booked.

Woman Loses Nearly Rs 16 Crore to Branch Manager

However, Sharma alleged that the branch manager created a fake email ID in her name, forged her signatures, and changed her mobile number in the bank records so that she would not receive any alerts or notifications of the transactions. He then siphoned off her money to his own accounts or to other entities.

Sharma said she was unaware of the fraud for four years, from September 2019 to December 2023, when she deposited around Rs 13.5 crore in the bank. With interest, the amount would have grown to more than Rs 16 crore. She discovered the scam in January this year when another bank official approached her and offered her better returns on her money. She then checked her account and found that her fixed deposits had vanished. Digital Banking Fraud: ‘Money Mule’ Bank Accounts on Rise, Represents a Bigger Threat Than Social Engineering Scams in India, Says Report.

Victim Approaches Delhi Police

Sharma filed a complaint with the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Delhi Police on January 29, naming the branch manager and 11 other bank officials who had interacted with her. She demanded that the bank should return her money along with the interest.

A spokesperson for ICICI Bank told the BBC that the branch manager has been suspended pending investigation. He said the bank has also lodged a complaint with the EOW and is cooperating with the police probe. He assured that Sharma would get all her money back, along with the interest, once her allegation was proven true. He added that it was “bewildering” that Sharma remained unaware of the transactions and balances in her account over the past three years.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Feb 27, 2024 04:10 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website