A fraud syndicate coordinated by a prison inmate has been smashed after it duped unsuspecting victims of millions of Naira.
According to Punch, the syndicate was smashed by the Inspector-General Police Special Intelligence Response Team (SIRT), after they had succeeded in defrauding their victims especially businessmen, through the use of fake bank alerts.
Ezenwa who was described as a notorious fraudster who had defrauded car and auto spare parts dealers in many states including the FCT was sent to prison after he was found guilty but he still ran his syndicate from within.
A source at the SIRT explained that the syndicate operated by approaching traders intending to buy expensive goods from them.
“After negotiations, they would ask their victims to forward their account number in order to do a money transfer. They would inform their victim that the transfer had been made and the victim would receive an alert to the effect.
But when a victim goes to the bank to confirm his balance, the money would not be in the account.
They did this mostly late on Fridays knowing that banks do not work on weekends and the victim may not be able to make any confirmation in the banking halls.
Usually, some victims would release the goods to them. The leader of the gang who is in prison uses a smartphone that is connected to the internet and browses through online retail sites like OLX, JiJi and Jumia, where he connects with people who wants to sell their valuables especially cars, chatting with them via Whatsapp,” the source said.
Some of the recovered vehicles
Photo Credit: Punch
It was gathered that when Ezenwa makes such purchases, usually very expensive vehicles, he would ensure that he his dealing with the rightful owner of the vehicle and would send members of his syndicate to verify the real state of the vehicle.
He would then proceed to use the same fake banking alert method to swindle the victim and in doing so, had defrauded various victims of expensive vehicles such as Mercedes G Wagon, Hummer, Toyota Highlander SUVs.
The activities of the fraud syndicate were brought to light after some victims wrote petitions to the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, who directed the SIRT to track down the syndicate by all means.
The SIRT investigations led them to a house in Abuja where the G Wagon, Hummer, Honda Odyssey, and a Honda End of Discussion.
One of the victims of the fraud, Mohammed Saleke, a car dealer based in Abuja, narrated how Ezenwa swindled him of a Mercedes G Wagon worth N7 million, which was on sale in his stand.
According to Seleke, Ezenwa sent a man to his car stand and after negotiating the price, the man took a photograph of the vehicle which was sent to the inmate.
“My boy, Obinna, was the one dealing with them and when they agreed to our price, they took my account number and went to the bank to withdraw the money. They insisted on transferring the money to my Diamond Bank account.
When I gave it to them, I received an alert after one hour and I called them to come and collect their vehicle. That was on a Friday, but by Monday when I went to the bank to check my account, I discovered there was no money paid into it.
When I received the alert, it had my previous balance in it and the total money was balanced. I wondered how he was able to get access to my account. This incident happened in November 2016 and I have been looking for the vehicle,” Seleke said.
It was also learned that while Ezenwa was in prison making his deals, his wife thought he was in Italy where he sent home the expensive vehicles.
The police said the suspects would be charged to court after