Officers from the Uttar Pradesh, India arrested two con men for duping an Indian doctor into buying an “Aladdin’s lamp” for more than $40,000.
Laeek Khan filed an official complaint on Oct. 25 when he realized the lamp he bought from the con men did not have any magical properties, according to AFP via Straits Times.
The lamp in question is a key artifact in one of the stories in the collection of Middle Eastern folk tales titled “The One Thousand and One Nights,” also known as “The Arabian Nights.”
The two men were arrested on Oct. 29 while another accomplice — said to be the wife of one of the accused — remains at large.
“The cheats had struck a deal for much more, but the doctor had paid about seven million rupees ($93,976),” senior officer Amit Rai said.
The scam started around the time Khan was treating a woman believed to be the men’s sick mother, NDTV reported.
“I started visiting their home to treat the supposed mother. The visits continued for over a month,” Khan said in his complaint. “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.”
He then met with the godman and the group told him they would sell him “Aladdin’s lamp” that would bring him “wealth, health and good fortune.”
“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’,” the doctor said.
A doctor in India was recently duped out of $40,000 for buying what he thought was “Aladdin’s lamp.” What he hoped would bring him wealth and success revealed itself as a fake when it only brought him gravy. pic.twitter.com/7f7FI84mnI
— Jarrett Bellini (@JarrettBellini) October 31, 2020
The con men also pretended to summon a genie residing inside the lamp to help convince the doctor of the item’s authenticity.
There seems to be some confusion in how much exactly Khan paid for the fake lamp. BBC reported the suspects demanded 15 million Indian Rupees ($201,430) for it, but they settled for a down payment of 3.31 million Indian Rupees ($44,448.89), while AFP said the doctor was duped for seven million Indian Rupees ($93,976).
Khan wasn’t the only victim. The suspects “also cheated other families using the same modus operandi. The total amount of money involved runs into several million rupees,” said Rai.
Feature Image via Uttar Pradesh Police