Duo cleared of scamming stewardess

Suspects acquitted of posing as du staff, embezzling woman’s Dh25,000 over uncorroborated evidence

Dubai: A businessman and a visitor have been cleared of scamming a stewardess of Dh25,000 after deceitfully convincing her that she had won a Dh500,000 prize.

The Italian stewardess was reported to have received a call from someone who pretended to be calling from du and told her that she had won a grand prize of Dh500,000 in January.

Falling for the trick, the Italian stewardess was left under the impression that she had to pay Dh25,000 as government fees and value added tax to be able to claim her prize.

The stewardess was believed to have paid the money to two suspects through instant cash transfer, transferring phone credits from her phone, online transfer and du machines.

A du salesperson, who saw the stewardess spending long time in transferring phone credits through a machine at a mall, told her that she had been scammed.

Primary interrogation by police led to the arrest of a 22-year-old Indian visitor. He was identified from the CCTV cameras at the money exchange from where he had collected the instant cash transfer.

Further interrogations led to the arrest of a 48-year-old Bangladeshi businessman for complicity.

When the two suspects showed up before the Dubai Court of First Instance, they pleaded not guilty and denied forging du papers, misusing WhatsApp and the telecommunication system to swindle and embezzle the stewardess money.

Citing lack of corroborated evidence, presiding judge Mohammad Jamal acquitted the duo of swindling the money through abusing the telecommunication system and using forged papers.

According to the accusation sheet, two other suspects remain at large.

The stewardess told prosecutors that a man called her pretending to be from du, and told her she had won Dh500,000 prize.

“He told me that I would be contacted by his co-worker from du … then a woman phoned me and instructed to remove my phone’s SIM card and note the serial number. I called that number and then she gave me the same serial number … and that was how I trusted her. She made me transfer money and phone credits of around Dh25,000, until one du salesperson saw me at du machine in a mall and warned me that I had been tricked,” she testified.

A police sergeant said the Indian suspect was apprehended at the airport shortly before leaving the country.

“The Indian suspect said during questioning that he and his accomplice [Bangladeshi and two runaways] tricked the stewardess and made her transfer money to them,” the police official told prosecutors.

The ruling remains subject to appeal.


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