Innocent Indian man who found himself at the centre of a major fraud investigation after agreeing to ship off suspicious packages for an anonymous man on Gumtree blasts police for ‘ruining his life’ by sharing his photo online
- Indian Gumtree seller pleaded innocence after police shared his pictures
- Adelaide-based international student had his pictures posted by SA Police
- Statement said Mr Singh ‘fraudulently obtained laptops’ on two instances in July
- The statement was taken off social media but his reputation has been ‘tarnished’
- He said his boss may have gotten him involved in committing fraud unknowingly
An Indian student claims his life has been ruined after he unknowingly committed fraud and became the focus of a police manhunt while working for Gumtree
Mr Singh, who does not wish to be identified, had his pictures posted online by South Australia Police in relation to two incidents about ‘fraudulently obtaining laptops’ on September 5.
He had been employed over Gumtree to collect and dispatch parcels.
The statement showed Mr Singh as a buyer who picked up laptops from a parcel collection point at Melrose Park between July 14 and 30.
‘Police are seeking assistance from the public to identify a man who is suspected of fraudulently obtaining two laptop computers,’ the police statement said alongside two images of Mr Singh.
An Indian Gumtree seller had to plead his innocence after being shamed online and caught up in fraud because police wrongly shared his photos
‘Police are seeking assistance from the public to identify a man who is suspected of fraudulently obtaining two laptop computers,’ the police statement said alongside two images of Mr Singh
It was late revised to say: ‘Police have identified the man captured on CCTV at a parcel collection point at Melrose Park. Investigations are continuing’.
The 19-year-old then had to present himself at the Adelaide police station on Sunday to explain his ‘innocence and ignorance’.
‘I don’t know if my job provider has been using me for some sorts of illegal activities. I have submitted about 50 screenshots of my work-related communications with my employer to the police,’ he told SBS.
Mr Singh, who is from Punjab in India’s north, said his employer is of Greek-Australian background but is stuck in Greece due to the coronavirus pandemic.
‘I never had any suspicions that he was doing any dodgy stuff. He called me through an Australian phone number and paid me $60 per day for the days I collected and dispatched the parcels,’ he said.
Mr Singh said the incident has ‘severely impacted’ his life and his mental health has deteriorated as a result of abuse on social media.
He has received derogatory remarks about his appearance and his religion, and Mr Singh’s reputation within the Indian-Australian community has been ‘tarnished’.
‘It has ruined my life. This news had gone viral within our Sikh and Indian-Australian community. While the police have removed this post, it is still impacting me and my life. Many people have shared screenshots of the post on social media and WhatsApp,’ the 19-year-old said.
While he understands why he may be a suspect, Mr Singh said ‘it doesn’t give random people the right to judge me and call me a criminal’.
Mr Singh said the incident has ‘severely impacted’ his life and his mental health has deteriorated as a result of abuse on social media (pictured)
South Australia Police has confirmed that they spoke to a 19-year-old in relation to ‘two separate incidents of deception’.
‘A media release and Facebook post was published on 5 September with an image of a suspect and a request for public assistance to identify the man depicted,’ said a police spokesperson.’
‘A number of comments on the Facebook post were deleted due to breaches of their standards.’
The spokesperson said the media release and Facebook post were removed after Mr Singh was identified.
SA Police are still investigating the matter.