Five held over mandir fund-raising scam

Five men are in custody after they were caught red-handed yesterday at Rosignol, West Berbice while soliciting money under false pretence on behalf of the Mortice Mandir at Mahaicony.  The men who hail from Mon Repos, East Coast Demerara and claimed that they were from Mahaicony, had just collected $2,000 from a resident at D’ Edward Village.

It happened that a resident from Mahaicony was there at the time and became suspicious. He contacted members of the mandir who indicated that there was no collection going on.

He was also instructed to make a note of the registration number of the black Toyota Raum, PNN 1812 that the men were using and to inform the police.

Police recovered a number of used receipt books that are yet to be tabulated. One of the books with yesterday’s date showed that the men collected some $38,000.

A flyer, as well as a letter, seeking help and signed by a ‘Lilian Persaud,’ claiming to be the secretary and a fake rubber stamp were also recovered.  It was also observed that the village was spelt as ‘Mortis,’ and the lot number was given on one place as ‘127’ and on another as ‘27.’   A member of the mandir, Roopnarine Itwaru told Stabroek News that he was first informed about the scam by a man from Success, ECD who was visiting relatives close to the Mortice Mandir.

The man who also produced a receipt and is willing to come forward to give evidence had said that the men were moving around in a black car.  Although Itwaru had started to alert persons he could not make it public because he could not produce enough evidence.

The con artists had also collected $12,000 from the home of Itwaru’s sister-in-law at La Grange, West Bank Demerara.

According to him, the men must have hatched the plan knowing that the mandir is currently under construction.

He said though that no collection was currently needed because the work was being funded by overseas-based residents.

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