Reports from the Pakistani Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) outline a money laundering and fraud scheme involving Digitonics Labs and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in what many are calling the largest money laundering case in Pakistan’s history.
Digitonics Labs has been accused of operating over 200 fraudulent websites that targeted international customers looking to receive a U.S. patent or trademark.
The report claims that all websites promised users “low-cost” services, then ignored customers once funds were received. In some cases, Digitonics Labs allegedly asked for more money in the form of “up-sale”, a common extortion tactic.
Digitonics also allegedly operated a low-cost webpage called USPTO Trademarks. The website reportedly used the official logo of the organization and the same color scheme, with the About Us page claiming to be “a project initiated by lawyers and technologists” that have “12 years of experience.”
The FIA estimates that 70% to 75% of customers who used a website linked to Digitonics were given fabricated U.S. patents or trademarks as part of the scam.
A total of 13 individuals were arrested as part of the investigation, including Digitonics CEO Muhammad Burhan Mirza in a raid on January 12. According to reports, at least one employee of Digitonics claims to have been fully unaware of the scam, believing that they actually had an agreement with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Reports from World Trademark Review suggest that further arrests will be made in this scandal, though no official documentation on that has been released.
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