By Innocent Orok
The Operatives of the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) in Lagos State last week botched the transfer of N25 million from a locally based bank account and another $220,000 from an International Account with the arrest of a 7-man fraud syndicate based in Lagos.
The arrest by the Decoy Team of RRS few days ago, was based on the intelligence it received on the activities of a fraud syndicate based in Lagos and led by one Osita Nwafor, alias Ossy.
Nwafor, 45 years old, 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 facilitated the arrest of six other members of the gang in different parts of the Lagos metropolis.
Other members of the gang arrested by the Police includes; Nwogu Joseph Chika (36), Anthony Odama (43), Ikechukwu Nkem (32), James Okonkwo (51), Adedio Paulinus (29) and Ogundepo Olufemi (51).
The prompt arrest of the gang has 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 sometimes in 2019 and they work independently and collectively.
According to Nwafor, ‘although I brought the team together, each and every member of the group has his own specialization in the group. We sourced for cases and each and every member of the group 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”, he added.
The suspects confirmed to investigators that they also 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”.
According to sources, police investigations revealed that the fraudsters scout for obituaries of well to do members of the public, use bank insiders to determine the deceased account balance, clone 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 is on the run after suspecting the gang has been busted and that police are 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 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. All the suspects have been transferred to the SARS for further investigations and prosecution.