Apparently not content to let the justice system run its course, three Indian men decided to take matters into their own hands when they kidnapped a man suspected of a multi-million dollar Ponzi with the goal of forcing the man to return their investment. Asif Hussain Siddique, Ayub Siddique, and Iqbal Sheikh (the "Trio") face criminal charges in connection with the failed attempt, and police remain on the lookout for two more accomplices who remain fugitives. The accused Ponzi schemer, Imtiyaz Saiyad, is said to have defrauded over 12,000 investors across India in an investment operation that purportedly promised 120% annual returns. Saiyad has denied involvement.
Indian authorities became involved last year after several investors contacted authorities with suspicions about Saiyad's investment venture. Known as Imtsons Ltd., investors were allegedly solicited with the promise of annual returns exceeding 120%. Saiyad was subsequently arrested, along with six 'sub-agents', on charges of duping. According to authorities, Saiyad's operation involved over 12,000 investors that contributed over $10 million to Imtsons on the promise of lucrative returns. However, according to Saiyad, he never promised investors the purported 120% returns; instead, he blamed his 'sub-agents' for luring investors into their own schemes under the name of Imtsons. Saiyad was ultimately released by authorities on the condition that he would make restitution to investors by the end of October 2012.
The Trio had invested over $300,000 with Saiyad. When they learned of Saiyad's arrangement with authorities, they devised a ruse to kidnap Saiyad, luring him to a city called Lucknow with a story that a Lucknow-based investor wanted to invest over $10 million with Imtsons. However, no such high-rolling investor existed. Instead, the Trio kidnapped Saiyad at gunpoint upon arriving in Lucknow, keeping him in a house under armed guard and demanding that he repay the funds lost by the Trio. Saiyad was forced to call family members to ask for cash or gold jewelry to satisfy the Trio's demands. Saiyad was able to turn over nearly $10,000.
However, unbeknownst to his kidnappers, Saiyad had managed to send out a text message to a family member informing them of his predicament. After consulting with police, the family devised a plan to have the kidnappers believe that an Indian businessman was ready to invest $100,000, but required Saiyad to travel to his state to sign papers evidencing the investment. When Saiyad arrived at the agreed-upon location with several of his kidnappers in trail, police arrested three while two managed to escape.
It remains unclear as to the severity of the charges lodged against the kidnappers.