MEET FRANK OSHANUGOR
By Frank Oshanugor
Police operatives from the Zone Two Command Headquarters of the Nigeria Police Force, Onikan Lagos have swooped on a syndicate of young Nigerians who specialized in stealing phones from members of the public and used same for transferring monies from the victims BVN/Bank linked SIM cards.
The development was sequel to an intelligence received by the Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) Zone Two Command, Ari Mohammed Ali of the existence of the gang and their nefarious activities.
Sources at Zone Two told AtlanticNewsonline that the AIG subsequently detailed operatives of the Zonal Enquiry Bureau to discretely investigate and apprehend members of the syndicate.
Based on the directive of the AIG, one Ogbonnaya Junior Duru, a male was arrested after serious efforts had been made. On interrogation and further investigation, Duru who hails from Orlu Local Government Area of Imo State was discovered to be a Trailer Mechanic by profession and has his workshop along Trinity Area of Berger Cement, Apapa Lagos.
When asked about his involvement in the alleged crime; he confessed to being introduced to the criminal act some time in 2019 by his friend one KAREEM, a male who lives in Ajegunle Area of Apapa. According to him, he has been in the business of criminality since then.
His confession to the police showed that his modus operandi centred on the collaborative efforts of his gang members. According to him, when other members of the syndicate (Praise, Emmanuel and Osaron, all males) whose areas of specialization was to steal mobile phones from members of the public either by Pick-Pocket, one-chance robbery and other means have stolen the phones, they would bring the SIM cards to Ogbonnaya Junior Duru.
In turn Duru would find out which bank(s) is/are the SIM cards linked to, check the account balance, reset the USSD pin and transfer funds from the owner’s account to accounts provided by a member of the syndicate (one Joshua a.k.a. ALERT).
The suspect Joshua currently at large was said to usually take 20% of the proceed and returned 80% either in cash or transfer to Duru who would take 40% of the proceed and delivered 40% to whoever brought the BVN/Bank linked SIM card.
He further confessed that there were other suspects who consulted him from Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Cross River States who later sent him consultation fees and that the least he has transferred from an account was One Hundred Thousand Naira (N100,000) while the maximum he had transferred was One Million, Four Hundred Thousand Naira (N1,400,000).
He added that the said Joshua (popularly known as ALERT) operated many accounts with different banks and as such would make the funds available for sharing the same day without delay.
According to his further confession, he had averagely worked on about five or six SIM cards in a week after which he would return the SIM cards to whoever brought them. However, he could not recollect the number of SIM cards he had transferred money from.
The mechanic turned internet fraud suspect listed UNION, FIRST BANK OF NIGERIA, FIDELITY, ECO, WEMA and STERLING BANKS as banks that are difficult for him to transfer monies from while he listed UNITED BANK FOR AFRICA (UBA), FIRST CITY MONUMENT BANK (FCMB), POLARIS, ACCESS, GUARANTEE TRUST BANK (GTB) and STANBIC IBTC BANKS as banks that were very easy for him to transfer from.
Confirming the incident, spokesperson of the Zone Two Command, Superintendent of Police, Hauwa Idris Adamu said AIG Ari Mohammed Ali has advised members of the public to beware of these criminal elements in the society and ensure they secure their valuables very well while criminals have been warned to relocate from Lagos and Ogun States which form the Zone Two Command else the long arm of the law would catch up with them soonest.