Operatives of the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) in Lagos State Police Command have last botched the transfer of N25 million from a local bank account and a $220,000 from a domiciliary account, with the arrest of a seven-man fraud syndicate based in in the state.
The arrest by the Decoy Team of RRS, a few days ago, was based on the intelligence it received on the activities of the suspected syndicate, led by one Osita Nwafor, alias Ossy.
Reporters At Large learnt that Nwafor, 45, was picked up in the gang’s hideout by the Decoy Team after a technical analysis of the details of the gang and its activities.
His arrest was said to have facilitated the apprehension of six other suspects in the gang in different parts of the metropolis.
Other members of the gang arrested by the police included Nwogu Joseph Chika (36), Anthony Odama (43), Ikechukwu Nkem (32), James Okonkwo (51), Adedio Paulinus (29) and Ogundepo Olufemi (51).
It was also gathered that the prompt arrest of the gang first voided a fraudulent transaction of N3 million that had been perfected by the syndicate through a cloned SIM card.
Police investigation revealed that the gang members were recruited by Nwafor sometime in 2019 and they worked independently and collectively.
According to Nwafor, “although I brought the team together, each member of the group had his own specialization in the group.
“We sourced for cases, and each member had his role in each of the cases.
“Once I had done my own part of the deal (sourcing for SIMs and accounts numbers through which the group perpetrated its fraud), I would push it to whoever among the members who needed to play the next role. That was how we treated our cases,” the suspect narrated.
He said further: “Apart from this, each member of the gang also had his own splinter group. Whenever they had personal jobs, they also handled them on their own.”
The suspects confirmed to investigators that they also work with insiders in banks, locally and internationally.
Nwafor added: “Chike (Nwogu) sourced for foreign and local accounts for money lodgments. I don’t know anything about how he used to do that. I would simply hand over to Chike. He had his connections and they worked on percentage.
“Once they agreed on the percentage, whenever the money came, everybody would get his own part.”
According to sources, police investigations revealed that the fraudsters used to scout for obituaries of well-to-do members of the public, and would use insiders in the bank to determine the deceased’s account balance, cloning their SIM cards for online transfer.
It was learnt that one of the bank insiders was arrested in Lagos while another one based in Benin, Edo State was on the run after suspecting the gang had been busted and that police were on his trail.
Nwafor disclosed that 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’s connivance.
It was also disclosed that Okonkwo, a close ally of Nwafor, who was also the gang’s coordinator, 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.
All the suspects were said to have been transferred to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) for further investigations and subsequent prosecution.