A fraudster who set up a rogue recruitment agency in Dubai to dupe dozens of jobseekers out of more than Dh30,000 ($8,167) has been sentenced to three years in prison.
The Pakistani man placed adverts on social media to lure unwitting victims, most of whom were from Africa, with the promise of security guard work.
He even hired two female employees, who were unaware of his plot, to help run the company as part of the elaborate scheme.
Dubai Criminal Court heard 25 people paid a total of Dh32,000 in hiring fees for jobs that never existed, with the fraudster aiming to swindle hundreds more.
“We didn’t know about his plans,” said one of the employees in the company in official records. "He was always asking us to get the recruitment fees from people before making a contract. He told me that we needed to recruit 500 people."
The offences took place over a period of six days in July last year.
One victim said he had seen an advert on a social media platform offering security guard positions.
“I called the number in the post and they asked me to come for an interview," the victim said in court.
"I went to the company, presented my documents and qualification and paid Dh1,500 to complete the procedure.”
He said the company gave him a receipt and told him his job would be in Ajman.
But on arrival he was told there was no vacancy.
He returned to the fake recruitment company in Al Rashidiya, Dubai and saw others who had endured similar experiences gathering to ask for refunds.
The two employees tried to contact the fraudster to inform him of the situation but could not reach him.
The victims contacted Dubai Police who launched an investigation, which led to the Pakistani citizen's arrest.
Records revealed the man arrived in the UAE two years ago and registered a commercial company.
He was providing payment receipts with a logo featuring the name of his company to convince people of the legitimacy of his enterprise.
He was convicted of illegally obtaining money and defrauding the jobseekers.
He was ordered to pay a fine of Dh32,000 in addition to the prison term.
The verdict is subject to an appeal, which must be lodged within 15 days.