Before he met his waterloo some months ago, 30-year-old Hope Olusegun Aroke lived in the elite 1004 Housing Estate, Victoria Island, Lagos.
Aroke, an undergraduate in a Malaysian university, had the world at his beck and call, as he could afford just about anything that meant class.For him, provision was probably just another successful scam away. And the race to maintain the social status that fraud had allegedly earned him could never end.
In his garage was a fleet of posh cars and SUVs, all of Mercedes-Benz brand. Though a tenant, he successfully outshone the status of his co-residents.To many, the young man had done well for himself by a dint of hard work.In some sense, Aroke was working hard, but as a suspected serial scammer.His busy neighbours barely noticed his unusual schedule, but many were irked by his exceptional flamboyant lifestyle.
Most times, when neighbours were out to work, Aroke stayed indoor in company with other young men, who were later discovered to be his fraud cell suspects.These young men included his apprentices and internet scam partners.The operation that marred Aroke’s merry-making living would have shot up his net worth by several notches.
Going by the revelation of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, he had successfully carried out the scam operations worth N55m on unsuspecting members of the public. He, however, became unfortunate while trying to conceal the nature of the proceeds by converting it to foreign currency in partnership with Ibrahim Tafida, a Bureau de Change operator.
He was eventually nabbed by the team of the EFCC in Lagos.
Last year, 25-year-old Sunkanmi Odewale, a 200-level undergraduate of Mechanical Engineering, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ogun State, a suspected fraudster, breezed into an automart and bought a Toyota Venza for N4m.Before, he was picked up in Ibadan, Oyo State, three months ago, he was alleged to be notorious for regularly swindling unsuspecting members of the public via the internet.
His N4m Toyota Venza was the latest of his collections of luxury toys allegedly acquired from the proceeds of cyber crimes.He, however, forfeited it and other valuables worth millions, which were seized during the arrest.
The EFCC said he was currently facing prosecution.
During some sting operations based on internet-prompted information, the EFCC recently arrested another five suspected fraudsters in Enugu State.
They are: 27-year-old Uche Nwakor; 30-year-old Oluchukwu Ejikeme; 28-year-old Ifeanyi Ejikeme; 30-year-old Nnamani Ikechukwu; and Ibe Kodili.Items seized from them where they were perfecting how to get the next victim are: eight exotic cars, nine laptops, 21 mobile phones, internet routers, drivers’ licenses and international passports.
They were arrested at their expensive houses at No 26 and 42, Chimaobi Uba Street, GRA, EnuguThe team is said to be “serial scammers,” having defrauded several victims.
Two months ago, the game was over for notorious internet fraudster, Wale Olaide, who specialised in defrauding members of the public through bank credit alerts.Popularly called Wale Dollar in his clique, he had great tentacles as his business transversed the shores of Nigeria.Although he had successfully executed bigger deals, which had earned him a comfortable life, he came crashing over a N5m deal involving two brothers Abdulhamid Abubakar, based in Nigeria and Hashim Abubakar based in Togo. They are both into BDC business.
Under the pretext that he wanted to do genuine business with them, he contacted the Togo-based operator, asking for his Nigerian bank account number, which he authorised his brother to give him. Olaide was supposed to pay in N5m to purchase the CFA Francs equivalent.
But when he got the account details, rather than send the money as agreed, he sent a false credit alert notifying the BDC operators that his account had credited at the Seme border branch and so he released the equivalent to him.
He was shocked to find out the next day that his bankers couldn’t trace such payments made into his account.
The EFCC said it took investigative initiative to arrest Olaide, who it described as “a member of the deadly syndicate involved in duping unsuspecting members of the public.”
It described fraudulent credit banking notification as a new trend in criminality by fraudsters and warned the public to be careful.
The EFCC Ag. Head, Media and Publicity, Wilson Uwujaren, told Saturday PUNCH that it was not in the character of fraudsters to buy lands or build houses.He said, “They seldom even buy houses or have permanent addresses because of the nature of their activities. They often spend money on exotic cars, throw parties and generally squander the money on things that are not fixed. All the people arrested for such crimes are usually made to face the law.”
Uwujaren said there were signs that could put one on the guard. “If for instance somebody you have never met in person begins to pester you about your personal banking details online, chances are that the person may be a potential scammer.
Culled from Punch