Police dismantle fraud syndicate, foil multi-million looting

Attempts by a fraud syndicate to steal N25million from a local bank and $220,000 from a foreign bank have been foiled by operatives of the Lagos State Rapid Response Squad (RRS) following arrest of seven suspects.

The seven suspects identified as Osita Nwafor, 45, alias Ossy; Joseph Nwogu 36; Anthony Odama 43; Ikechukwu Nkem 32; James Okonkwo 51; Paulinus Adedio 29 and Olufemi Ogundepo 51 were arrested last week by undercover detectives acting on information received on activities of the syndicate.

According to the police, Nwafor, the leader, was first apprehended at their hideout after days of tailing and under studying the operations of the syndicate.

He was said to have provided useful information that led to the arrest of the others in different parts of Lagos, putting a stop to their plans of swindling unsuspecting victims.

They were alleged to have perfected a N3 million fraud through a cloned Sim card which the police foiled.

Police said investigations revealed the gang operated with the help of insiders in commercial banks within and outside Nigeria, adding Nwafor recruited other members of his syndicate in 2019 with each of them assigned specific roles.

The suspects were said to have specialised in targeting deceased multi-millionaires’ bank accounts whose Sim cards are cloned.

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With help of their accomplices in the banks, they moved money from their accounts through online transactions without raising dusts.

It was learnt one of the bank insiders was arrested in Lagos while another based in Benin was on the run after suspecting the gang has been busted.

In his confessional statement to the police, Nwafor told detectives they were working on transfer of $220,000 transaction from a foreign bank before he was arrested.

He said: “I brought the team together. Each member of the group has his own specialisation. We source for cases and each member has his own role on each of the cases.

“Once I have done my own part of the deal (sourcing for SIMs and account numbers through which the group perpetrates its fraud), I push it to whoever has to play the next role and that is how we treat our cases.

“Apart from this, each member of the gang also has his own splinter group. Whenever they have personal jobs, they handle on their own.”

Continuing, Nwafor told the police Nwogu was in charge of sourcing foreign and local accounts to lodge their loots, adding “I do not know how he does that, I simply hand over to Chike (Nwogu).

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“He has his connections and they work on percentage. Once they agree on the percentage, when the money comes, everybody gets his own cuts.”

Ogundepo was said to have been working on N25million scam from a commercial bank with the help of an insider while Okonkwo allegedly cornered N8million proceed of the gang, a development that caused bad blood between himself and Nwafor shortly before their arrest.

The suspects, the police said, have been transferred to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), Ikeja for further investigations and prosecution.

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