30th March, 2012
The Lagos State Task Force on Environment and Special Offences (Enforcement) unit yesterday paraded three Nigerians and a 73-year Old Bulgarian arrested at Ogba, Ikeja, for their alleged involvement in advance fee fraud, popularly known in Nigeria as 419.
The Bulgarian, Peter Stephen and his three accomplices were paraded at the Taskforce office in Alausa yesterday and later charged to court.
Other suspects are Bayo Aromolaran, 54, from Osun State; Akin Bayowa, 42, from Ondo State and Adeyemi Oluremi.
The Bulgarian was alleged to have claimed to be one of the directors of Worldwide Investment Company Limited, a company which never existed. Stephen goes by the fictitious name Capello.
Stephen and his co-accused feigned the existence of $2.4 Million (N360 million) which was allegedly left behind by a deceased individual, which they claimed could only be spent if the box containing the dollars is unlocked and the stamp in each of the note removed.
The box containing the said dollars is not opened but have a paper attached to it containing details on how to unlock it before the money could be gotten and also with relevant information on who to call abroad to give direction on how to get the money.
The gang will now sell the idea to some gullible members of the public, showing him or her the box containing the dollars and what to do to unlock it and what will be their share if they will get money to eraset the stamp on the dollars as they were financially handicapped to get the needed money to clear the stamp.
To convince one to join in the business, they will present the white man, who claimed to be Capello and a director in a company Worldwide Investment Company Limited, the company in charge to unlock the money.
Adeyemi Oluremi, one of those arrested told P.M.NEWS that he was a victim of the fraud as he had already parted with N4.2 million, thinking that when the money was unlocked, he would be able to gain more from the $2.4 million.
According to him, the ring leader of the gang, Mr. Akin Bayowa, who goes out to bring customers’ to invest their money to help unlock the dollars, sold the idea to him and that he bought into it thinking he would get his money back with sumptuous interest.
He said he had been paying them money gradually until he parted with N4.2 million and that when he discovered that nothing was forthcoming, he stopped giving them money a year ago.
He said he was later contracted to help get customers to buy into the idea so that his money would not go down the drain, adding that it was in the process of trying to do this that he was arrested with the other members of the gang.
He claimed to be an engineer with the Federal Government and had a Higher National Diploma, HND, from Yaba College of Technology, Yaba, Lagos.
According to the ring leader, Bayowa, he lived in Ghana before he was lured into the game.
He said his own part of the game was just to get customers to buy into the idea and connect them to Worldwide Investment Company Limited.
When asked, the Bugarian denied involvement but claimed that the other three members of the gang called him into the business.
Unknown to him, some members of the taskforce had already spoken to one of his cohorts on phone telling them he was interested.
At the Excellence Hotel, Ogba, Stephen, by the name Capello met with the police officer, who feigned interest in the business and was said to have introduced himself as Capello, one of the directors of Worldwide Investment Company Limited.
Taskforce chairman, Bayo Sulaiman told P.M.NEWS that the bubble bust when another member of the public was called to bring money to unlock the dollars in the box, saying that the man informed the taskforce when he suspected foul play while the taskforce official decided to play along.
The gang agreed to meet with the new customer at Excellence Hotel, Ogba but the meeting was changed to Mr. Biggs in Ogba. It was there the police arrested them, with the Bulgarian, who claimed to be Capello.
The taskforce chairman appealed to members of the public to be vigilant so that they would not fall into the hands of fraudulent people, saying that those arrested would soon be prosecuted.