Doctor Duped Into Buying Magic Lamp for $41,600

Doctor Duped Into Buying Magic Lamp for $41,600

Okay, this has to be the most ridiculous scam of the century.

Two con artists in Meerut, a city in Western Uttar Pradesh of India were arrested earlier this week for scamming a doctor of his hard-earned ₹ 31 lakh, a sum equivalent to $41,600. The scammers somehow managed to “summon a genie” from a gold-colored lamp and were able to market the item as the original “Aladdin’s lamp”, the magical folkloric artifact that conjures a wish-fulfilling genie when it is rubbed. [1]

Most viewers of Aladdin who are not below five years of age would certainly have known that the genie granting outrageous wishes is only a work of excellent fiction. Sadly, the same couldn’t be said for the dreamy Dr. Laeek Khan who filed a complaint with the police on October 25, after he discovered he’d been elaborately scammed. The scammers had initially attempted to con $200,000 out of the man, but when he was unwilling to pay such an outrageous amount, they settled on $41K. 

The now-arrested swindlers, Ikramuddin and Anees, had reportedly met the doctor when he treated a woman they claimed was their “ailing mother”.

“I started visiting their home to treat the supposed mother. The visits continued for over a month. Gradually they started telling me about a baba (godman) whom they claimed also visited their home. They started brainwashing me and asked me to meet this baba,” Dr. Khan said in his statement to the police.

Aladdin’s second coming

The doctor said he finally met the “baba” one day and the man performed some of the rituals he’d been told about.

“Eventually this group told me they would sell me a ‘chirag (lamp)’ for ₹ 1.5 crore but I could only offer a ₹ 31 lakh down payment. They told me this lamp would bring wealth, health and good fortune. They said this is ‘Aladdin ka chirag’ (Aladdin’s lamp),” Dr. Khan added. [2]

To further convince the man of the authenticity of the artifact, the scammers pretended to conjure up a genie. Of course, it was just one of the guys playing dress-up. They also went the extra mile to bring Aladdin himself into the madness.

“During one visit ‘Aladdin’ actually made an appearance in front of me. I did not know who this person was at that time. I later realized (one of) the accused was dressing up as ‘Aladdin’,” he said.

As of the time of writing, it’s not clear whether the scammers have returned the money to the doctor. However, it should be the next line of action. The lamp is now in the custody of the police. A spokesperson at the station reported that the con artists have been in the game for quite a long time and Dr. Khan was just one of their recent exploits.

We have found that the same men went to other homes in the city too and cheated many families in the name of ‘tantra vidya’. We have found the involvement of three people so far. Two have been arrested. A woman is on the run,” said Amit Rai, a senior Meerut police official.

References

  1. Indian doctor duped into buying ‘Aladdin’s lamp’ after genie show.” France 24. Retrieved November 2, 2020.
  2. Indian doctor duped into buying ‘Aladdin’s lamp’ for $41,600.” BBC. Retrieved November 2, 2020.
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