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Introducing herself at times as a consular general at Australian immigration services and at times as a ruling party leader aspiring to be an MP in Bangladesh, she would lure people to apply for permanent residency in Australia for Tk 20-25 lakh per visa.
Umme Fatema Rosy (35), an Australian expat, would tell her targets that she had received awards from the Australian prime minister and she was well connected with the country's immigration minister.
She would then tempt them to apply for family-based permanent residency visas. But after receiving the money, she would cut off all ties with the visa aspirants.
More than two dozen people, including a Supreme Court lawyer in Bangladesh, fell victim to her scam. They filed two cases -- one with the Dhaka Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Court and another with the Cyber Tribunal of Bangladesh -- in July.
Rosy is the prime accused in both cases. An immigrant with an Australian passport, the Jhalakathi native ran the racket, according to the first information report (FIR) in one of the cases.
Rosy's mother Farida Yesmin and brother Rakib Hasan Mitul were also accused in the case.
Rosy is also accused in four other cases filed over allegations of human trafficking and fraudulence, police said.
One of the victims, MABM Khairul Islam, an advocate at the Supreme Court, paid more than Tk 75 lakh for nine of his
family members. He deposited Tk 55.37 lakh to two bank accounts and paid Tk 20 lakh in cash to Rosy's mother, Farida.
Talking to The Daily Star, Khairul Islam, also from Jhalakathi, said, "Rosy is a long-time family friend. She reintroduced herself as the current consular general of the Sydney Immigration Office. She said she would sponsor us."
Rosy told them via email that no direct interviews would be held because of Covid-19. After receiving the "visa application fees," Rosy sent them application file numbers, medical examination forms, signed medicare forms, as well as air tickets.
On June 13, a man named Akash, introducing himself as an officer at VFS Global Bangladesh Pvt Ltd., asked KHairul to report to the VFS Office on June 17.
However, when Khairul went there, the VFS authorities said all the documents they had been sent were fake.
On Saturday, the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of police finally arrested two members of the racket -- Saimun Islam (26) and Ashfakuzzaman Khandaker (26) -- from the capital's Khilgaon area over impersonating VFS officers and forging visa documents.
The law enforcers seized seven fake visa grant notices, five fake health care cards, six fake air tickets and two mobile phones, from their possessions.
At a press briefing yesterday, Imam Hossain, additional DIG of CID, said Rosy had been living in Australia for over a decade and that she had embezzled crores by conning visa aspirants.
"We would talk to National Central Bureau (NCB) in Dhaka to get her back from Australia," said the CID official.
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