Inspired by the Indian Premier League, a popular annual spring tournament watched by half a billion people around the world, Shoeb Davda established his own livestreamed cricket tournament from a remote village in India. But the “stadium” was fake, and the games were all fixed. Why attempt such a scheme? On the surface, the answer is easy: the tournament would attract online bettors, which would mean money for the struggling businessman. But as Sean Williams peels back layers and descends into a world of rigged games and online scams, he discovers a larger, shadowy network and money-making machine making the calls.

The cops had identified Davda as the mastermind of the Molipur cricket scam—and that’s how he had been portrayed in global media. As he told his story, standing on the stoop of the bangle store, the notion that Davda was a criminal mastermind evaporated quicker than a lassi in the Gujurat sun. If anything, he was one of the tens of thousands of victims of human trafficking from India each year—of which Gujarat is a key source. What happened in Molipur was clearly being directed by Davda’s former captors. But Davda refused to elaborate on Misha.

Cheri has been an editor at Longreads since 2014. She's currently based in the San Francisco Bay Area.