Police in Lagos have frustrated suspected fraudsters’ plan with local and international bankers to steal money from the accounts of dead persons.
Seven persons arrested last week in connection with the alleged scheme are being interrogated by operatives of the Rapid Response Squad (RRS).
RRS said in a statement on Sunday that the suspects planned to transfer N25 million from a local bank account and $220,000 from an international account.
Police said the alleged fraudsters scout for obituaries of well-to-do individuals, use bank insiders to determine their account balance, and clone their SIM cards for online transfer.
One of the bank insiders was arrested in Lagos while another based in Benin is on the run after suspecting the gang had been busted and that police were on his trail.
Their arrest was based on intelligence received on the activities of a fraud syndicate based in Lagos allegedly led by one Osita Nwafor, alias Ossy.
Nwafor, 45, was picked up in the gang’s hideout after a technical analysis of the details of the gang and its activities. His arrest facilitated the apprehension of six other members of the gang in different parts of the metropolis.
They are Nwogu Joseph Chika, 36, Anthony Odama, 43, Ikechukwu Nkem, 32, James Okonkwo, 51, Adedio Paulinus, 29, and Ogundepo Olufemi, 51.
The arrest of the gang voided a fraudulent transaction of N3 million that had been perfected by the syndicate through a cloned SIM card.
Police said Nwafor recruited the gang, with each member handling specific aspects of their operation.
cases and each and every member of the has his own role on each of the cases.
“Once I have done my own part of the deal (sourcing for SIMs and accounts numbers through which the group perpetrates its fraud), I push it to whoever among the member 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 also handle on their own.”
The suspects said they work with bank insiders locally and internationally.
Nwafor added: “Chike (Nwogu) sourced for foreign and local accounts for money lodgments. I don’t know anything about how he does that, I simply hand over to Chike. He has his connections and they work on percentage. Once they agree on the percentage, when the money comes, everybody gets his own cuts”.
Nwafor said Nwogu was working on the transfer of $220,000 fresh transaction from a foreign bank (bank name, account holder and parties withheld) before he was arrested.
Another member of the syndicate, Femi Ogundepo, it was revealed, was also working on a fraudulent transaction of N25 million from an old generation bank with an insider connivance (details of the deal withheld).
James Okonkwo, a close ally of Nwafor, the gang coordinator, it was disclosed allegedly cornered N8 million fraudulent proceed of the gang shortly before his arrest.
This, it was learnt, was the cause of a serious dispute between Nwafor and Okonkwo, who just came back from the village.
RRS said the suspects have been transferred to the SARS for further investigations and prosecution.