Series: ‘Money Mafia Season 2’ (Streaming on discovery+). Duration: 30 minutes per episode.
Director: Sajeed A.
Cast: Prakash Inchathanam, Manoj V. George, Suhel Daud, Nishikant Karlikar, Shishir Hiray, Vikram Chavan, Nidheesh, Thomas Issac.
IANS Rating: **
Fear and greed are emotional issues that make a man blind, foolish, and easy prey. This known fact is reiterated by Season 2 of Money Mafia, streaming on discovery+.
The series consisting of four episodes each lasting 30 minutes, showcases white collared organised crimes namely: The IRS Call Centre Scam, The Popular Finance Scam of Kerala, The Ketan Parekh case, and the Cryptocurrency Fraud.
These scams and frauds made headlines when they were unearthed a few years ago. For those who have not heard of them, this series is educational. But for others, the series is a reiteration.
The first episode covers the three hundred million IRS (US-based Internal Revenue Service) Call Centre Scam. There are strangely two sets of victims here. First, the US citizens who were conned to pay the fraudsters, money claiming to be outstanding taxes, and second the gullible employees of the call centre who thought they were doing a noble job of extracting the unpaid taxes.
The second episode highlights the Rs 2,000 crore Ponzi scheme of Popular Finance, a Non-Banking Financial Company based in Kerala, where the victims were left in the lurch after the promoters of the company absconded.
The third episode unravels the rise and fall of stockbroker Ketan Parekh who manipulated the stock market from 1998 to 2001. During this period, he artificially rigged prices of certain chosen securities which were informally referred to as K-10 stocks. Believing that Ketan had a Midas touch, investors blindly followed suit till the bubble burst.
The final episode chronicles the popularity of the new digital investment Cryptocurrency and the frauds around it. It also tells us about the rise and fall of Amit Bhardwaj, the man who is often considered the pioneer of cryptocurrency in India. Ironically, he is also the fall guy.
This review is done based on the first two episodes of the series, and while the series appears promising, the telling of these intriguing tales is bland and half-hearted.
The episodes are packaged, like a documentary with; footage from News and media channels like NDTV, Kairali News, Pathanamthhitta media, and with opinions from Former Finance Minister of Kerala, an FBI agent, Investigative as well as Financial Journalists, Supreme court lawyer, Special Public Prosecutor, Defence Counsel.
Each episode delivers a cursory insight into the shocking and intriguing con pulled over gullible citizens. Also, all the information given is aggregated from open platforms, and there is nothing novel in the telling. Moreover, credits are not given to the talking heads, thus making the audience a passive spectator of what they already know without knowing who is contributing, the content.
Overall, the series is a mediocre documentation of the ‘Money Mafias’.