Who does not want to earn? We all do. Some of us do a job for a living while others try their hands at business. There are also people who make a living by not doing any of the above – at least not in the sense others do. Such people resort to unfair means to earn money by floating schemes others would fall into. As an example, one could cite Ashfaq Siddique. Ashfaq Siddique was responsible for an alleged fraud he started in 2017. The scheme he floated targeted a majority of Muslims over a period of two years i.e. 2017-2019. Those who fell for the scheme lost thousands of pounds.
The Muslim Entrepreneur Network (MEN), came into being in 2015 launched by Rafaqat “Rocky” Mirza and Aziz “Com” Mirza. By 2017, these two started an investment scheme for a program called Leverage Program.
Ashfaq Siddique was the director of Empty Trip scheme, which was hosted by Leverage, from 2017. The “investment” scheme that was launched for members of MEN received £49,000 that went to Ashfaq Siddique and his brother Ishtiaq Siddique. The remaining amount of £20,075 was paid towards the mobile app for Empty Trip. However, Ashafa Siddique never seems to have any knowledge of the amount that went into his account.
Every person who commits a crime denies it outright. So did Siddique. But what about the relationship he had with the Mirza brothers since he was a policeman at Scotland Yard? In a video Ashfaq is seen praising Rocky Mirza for a brilliant investment idea that will benefit all. He further says that the project aims to help the entire community. What seems to be true is that the community comprises just four members – The Mirza Bothers and the Siddique Brothers. The total amount that the “investment” scheme accumulated was somewhere between £3 million – £4 million.
When the Mirza brothers were working on the Leverage Program, all of a sudden another startup was registered by the name of Empty Trip. This was a mobile app for taxis which you could book for just one side. An astonishing amount of £291,618 was transferred to the Leverage Program that was promoted by Haroon Rashid. Some of the investors were famous figures of Britain. Out of all the amount collected by Empty Trip, there is only £7499 left in the account with the remaining amount transferred to accounts that are related to MEN and Leverage.
The investors were people who could easily fall prey to the scheming minds of Ashfaq Siddique, Harroon Rashid, and the Mirza brothers. The Leverage Program was supposed to be returning 100% profits to the investors in a 12-month term. Add to this, if the investors failed to get any profits, the company would pay them £6,000 instead of the £5,000 they invested. The so called “investors” then came forward and around 1,100 of them deposited amounts of £1,500 – £25,000 in the Leverage Program. One of the “investors” went up to deposit £250,000 in the program.
Yet another 40-year old became an investor by paying £33,120 to Empty Trip. This he did because of the faith he had in the Leverage Program and the people like Ashfaq Siddique who were working with the program. Little did he know they were actually working to take away his money and safely deposit it in their own accounts? Before the members came to know about the alleged fraud, they were even working for Leverage writing content online for which they never got paid.
Concluding the Fraud
Many organizations in the past have played with the emotions and the status of the public. Many of the scams known to us such as the Eiffel Tower Sale, Enron, Savings and Loan scandal etc. were also duping the public only. In an earliest of its kind, even the Roman Empire was set for sale. Leverage, which started off as a vague company that did not have the backing of any financial institution still continues to operate despite such a big alleged fraud. The people behind the alleged fraud like Ashfaq Siddique, Mirza Brothers etc. are still at large. Unpunished, they might be seeking some new audience to deprive them of some other valuable assets and enrich their own coffers.