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3 bank officials, 3 telecoms staff, 4 others nabbed on N150m fraud

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Convincing indications have emerged that in every electronic fraud effectively carried out in a bank, there is always an insider accomplice and telecom company officials.

On Monday, the Police Special Fraud Unit (PSFU) in Lagos announced the arrest of 11 suspected fraudsters that included three bank officials with a new generation bank over N150m fraud.

ASP Lawal Audu, the Unit image maker told newsmen at Ikoyi office that two of the suspects were employees of a network service provider (name with held).

He gave the names of the suspected bank officials as Oyelade Shola-Isaac, 32; Osuolale Hammid, 40; and Akeem Adesina, 33; while the telecoms service provider employees include Okpetu John, 29; Chukwumnoso Ifeanyi, 30; and Salako Abdulsalam, (ICT specialist), 30.

Other suspects are Ismaeel Salami, 49; Akinola Oghuan, 34; Sarumi Abubakar, 32; James Idagu, 56; and Sunday Okeke, 33. The arrests were carried out after investigations across Lagos, Ibadan and Ilorin where the ring operates their syndication act.

Whereas Audu revealed that the job of the bankers was to provide the syndicate with information on bank customers with funded accounts that were not into internet banking, the telecoms service provider suspects usually are in the smart act of effecting seamless swap of the SIM cards (GSM numbers) of targeted bank customers.

The job of the network accomplice is to disallow the customers from receiving alert from their banks of any transactions on their accounts within the short period that their accounts were being tampered with by the fraudsters.

PSFU spokesman revealed further that the suspects transferred the money wired from different bank customers into about 40 other accounts with ATM in different other banks to neutralize tracing which the Police team busted with superior technology.

According to Police, the suspects usually carried out their operations during the weekends and public holidays, to evade being detected by the various bank monitoring mechanisms or the owners of targeted funded accounts.

He added that “The efforts of the police team eventually paid off when it bust the group members’ final meeting holding at an eatery in Bode Thomas Street in Surulere, Lagos State.

“There, they were planning how to unleash another monumental fraud on unsuspecting customers.

“Their plan was to defraud some new generation banks between May 26 and May 29, 2017, but detectives stormed the venue during which one of the major kingpins, claimed to be Alhaji Ismaeel Salami, and four members of the syndicate were arrested.

There on them, 35 ATM cards affixed with account numbers and passwords were immediately recovered from them.

Audu noted that “It was, however, unveiled that this criminal syndicates usually sourced these bank ATM cards from their owners, especially among the vulnerable youths”.

“The syndicate usually deceives the unsuspecting card owners to release their ATM cards, account numbers and passwords for eventual monetary rewards based on the amount their cards receive,” he said.

Just as the Police said the suspects will be charged to court very soon, the anti-fraud unit warned members of the public to be careful of fraudsters’ activities, warning them against giving out their bank details to strangers.


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