‘Biblical Antiquities’ Collectors Arrested for Fraud – Eurasia Review
(UCA News) – Police in the Indian state of Kerala are investigating a self-proclaimed antique collector after he complained that he extorted millions of multiple people by claiming to own antiques, including the silver coins that Judas Iscariot used for treason Jesus Christ, the staff of Moses and the first edition of the Holy Bible.
On September 27, the day after police arrested Monson Mavunkal on criminal charges, including fraud, he was held in custody by the Ernakulam District Court until October 6. He was turned over to the State Police Department of Criminal Investigations to aid their investigation.
“It is quite shocking that people are still falling victim to such blatant fraud,” said Capuchin Father Dominic Pathiala, a social worker from the southern state.
Mavunkal, who presented himself as a YouTuber and patron of several charities, lived in a rented villa in Kochi, the business capital of Kerala, and made known his connections to top politicians and the police through photos and videos, and presented himself as an antique collector and dermatologist.
One complainant said Mavunkal had used forged documents to convince him that he had $ 37.4 billion in his bank account from his antique shops but had to pay millions in bribes to officials in New Delhi to release the money.
He paid Mavunkal $ 36,000 in cash and trusted his promise of lucrative returns when the money was released.
Police also say Mavunkal has received millions from several others with false promises to make them partners in his antique shop and in an exhibition center he has planned in a golf country.
In a multinational operation that has been going on for over a decade, Mavunkal impressed its victims with the collection of counterfeit antiques associated with Jesus Christ, the Prophet Mohammed, the Buddha and Sri Krishna.
He also managed to obtain police protection for his Kerala homes by claiming threatened billions of dollars worth of antiques. Investigators say the antiques he exhibited to select celebrities whom he invited to his home were fake and sourced locally from movie sets and local artisans.
Among the rarities he claimed were two of the 30 silver coins Judas Iscariot received for betraying Jesus Christ, a jug that kept water that Jesus turned into wine at the wedding at Cana, and relics of Christian saints in Kerala and Italy.
He started taking money from people in 2017, but some grew suspicious after seeing no progress on his promises and complaining to the police.
Video clips show Catholic priests and nuns visiting the home of Mavunkal, who is said to be Catholic.
“I think people fall victim to such scams because they didn’t want to live in real situations and acquire unreal things to change their lives,” Father Pathiala told UCA News on September 28th.
“People have been given enough advice almost every day since childhood to lead a life without greed, yet their greed seemed to have caught them in such a situation.
“If someone wants to achieve great goals in life, it shouldn’t be done by taking such a short cut – you will even end up losing what you have.”
Jose Chriyan, a catechism teacher in the Christian stronghold of Idukki district, said that “younger generations have a tendency to make quick money and they are ready to do anything to get it.”
“It doesn’t hurt to make money and live a luxurious life, but it shouldn’t hurt others,” Chriyan told UCA News on Sept. 28.