- May 6, 2021
- Posted by: Sohrab Sattar
- Category: News
One of the finest law enforcement agencies of the world, Pakistan’s FIA living up to their stature exposed Karachi-based entity by the name of Digitonics Lab illegally operating more than 200 websites and providing fraudulent trademark filing in cheap rates to foreigners.
It was revealed by the Federal Investigation Agency earlier in January in its startling report that Digitonics Lab has been involved in a massive money laundering activity which led to the arrest of 9 people along with the CEO himself, Mohammed Burhan Mirza.
FIA’s report reveals that Digitonics Lab has been using 213 websites offering digital services and out of these 213 websites, four of them were providing fake trademark registration under the domain names of gpteb.org, trademarkinc.org, trademarkfunnel.com and usptotrademarks.com.
FIA exposed that Digitonics Lab through these websites offered surprisingly cheap digital services and used to abandon their clients right away after getting the funds only to later demand more funds in the name of up-sale. What’s more shocking and alarming is that the websites have issued around 70 – 75% fake USPTO certificates to the clients they have scammed.
One of the domains ‘usptotrademarks.com’ used the official logo and color scheme of USPTO to offer low-cost fake trademark filing. It was revealed in FIA’s in-depth research that Facebook and LinkedIn pages for the website were also being operating. Similarly other websites also adopted the similar path of copying the color scheme and logos of well reputed trademark firms to deceive the people.
FIA is taking all the necessary measures to ensure a befitting punishment for the culprits considering the number of charges imposed on them. All the nine culprits arrested by FIA are reported to have been found in international financial scamming, electronic forgery, unauthorized use of identity information, spoofing, impersonating, cheating, identity theft, phishing, defamation, extortion of money, money laundering, and forgery of documents. FIA’s timely action against these crooks has saved thousands from becoming a part of this deceptive loop.
A USPTO spokesperson in response to this report has said: “The USPTO takes the issues described in this article very seriously and has alerted the appropriate law enforcement authorities to investigate this matter. Protecting stakeholders and the public from fraudulent activity is a priority of the USPTO, and we are working to identify any applicants who may have been affected.”
Talking to one of our International Trademark Legal Experts, Shahzaib Amin Malik who is well versed in International IP matters and a renowned IP lawyer, explains further:
“This kind of illicit activity is exceptional and never seen before around the world, Digitonics people have done the same illegal activities which were seen in the Axact scandal a few years back. FIA has taken great action against these crooks and I believe they will do the prosecution in the same manner so these people stay behind bars for a maximum amount of time.
Also, I am of the opinion that these people are not alone. There must be people sitting behind these illicit activities around the world which are providing them assistance. What we have to see is the NEXUS between Pakistani companies with foreign companies because how they have transferred amounts to Pakistan cannot without any linkage with foreign companies. International authorities failed to identify such a mega money laundering scandal but what I can see here is that Pakistan’s FIA has done a fabulous job and saved Pakistan from serious damages. I would suggest that FIA should join hands with the other foreign investigation authorities and make a Joint Action Team to further investigate this matter in depth and find out the linkages of Digitonics with other foreign companies which is the most important part of this money laundering scandal.”
Shahzaib Amin Malik further went on to point our attention towards the payment methods of these fraudulent transactions which serves as a clear evidence for the involvement of foreign companies.
“Money was transferred from different parts of the world through Stripe. Interestingly, Stripe does not work with Pakistani bank accounts and in order to open a stripe account one must have a USA or UK company which means, International authorities failed to identify such illicit activities timely.
However, FIA took extraordinary measures and took a lead to stop such illicit activities from Pakistan. FIA is further working to identify the nexus of these companies with other international companies. It is impossible to believe that these companies do not have sister or subsidiary companies in other countries i.e., in the US or in UK”.