Bank Fraudsters Meet Their Waterloo


Femi Ogbonnikan reports on how luck ran out for some fraudsters responsible for several bank frauds in Lagos 
In the current onslaught against criminals unleashing their unwholesome activities on the residents of Lagos State, nemesis has caught up with a mastermind of several bank frauds in the city as he has been apprehended alongside six of his accomplices.
The suspected fraudster, Ajisafe Olugbenga, 47 years old, who hails from Osun State, was arrested by the operatives of the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) of the Lagos State Police Command, following the deployment of their high-tech devices recently procured by the Lagos State Government, for allegedly masterminding several bank frauds. The tracking devices were said to have trailed the kingpin to his hideout where he was picked and whisked away to the Alausa Secretariat, Ikeja office of the RRS for further investigation.
Ajisafe, who is popularly known as ‘Harrison’ among his gang members, was arrested on Tuesday, April 25, 2017, after he was mentioned and fingered as the initiator of SIMs swap deal at a network provider’s outlet in Surulere (Lagos) and Abeokuta (Ogun State).
THISDAY reliably gathered that, Ajisafe had before his arrest on Tuesday been on the run over his involvement in a case of N2 million fraud in one of the old generation banks in Lagos State sometime in April, 2016.
The suspect, who is regarded as the head of the syndicate, assigning roles to his ‘boys’ in all the bank frauds, was alleged to have a vast network arrangement with insiders in banks. 
It was gathered that Ajisafe was also alleged to have exploited his vast network link with insiders in banks to procure bank details of high net worth customers. “It is based on this information, such as account balance, account number and phone number of the owner and email that the gang work on to perpetrate the fraud,” hinted a police officer.
According to police sources, the gang would block or swap the SIM of the bank customer, so that he or she would not receive the alert on every transaction on the account, which were mostly perpetrated on weekends when the money would be withdrawn in tranches.
Prior to this, it was further learnt that, the bank insider, who has his or her cut on every transaction, would have helped the gang to increase the customer’s withdrawal limit. 
It was said that, when the suspected fraudsters were arrested, several print outs of a good number of customers’ details were found on the members of the syndicate. It was further revealed that the balances on all the print outs recovered were put at over N800 million.
Other members of the syndicate arrested in connection with the case are Michael Adeoye, Ayo Olalekan, Israel Ochenehi, Adegbenro Opeyemi, Obong Udeme – Obot and  Peter Ezurike.
It would be recalled that the uncovered fraud detection last year prompted the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Fatai Owoseni, who called for a meeting of bank executives aimed at strategising on the methods and approaches to adopt, in order to curtail the rising profile in bank frauds in the state.
It was further disclosed that Owoseni, had urged banks in Lagos State to raise the bar of their anti-fraud internal mechanism, in order to deter fraudsters from having their ways through.
It was said that Ajisafe met his waterloo recently when he wanted to recruit three suspects through which some SIM cards belonging to a particular network (name withheld) were being swapped and used for some of the gang’s bank fraud.
Two of the suspects recruited by Ajisafe for the sim swap; Shamsudeen Olalekan, 35 years old, and Nicholas Egbele, were arrested few days earlier before Ajisafe was picked up on Tuesday.
Also arrested along with them is a staff of a popular network provider in an outlet in Abeokuta who has been assisting the gang in SIM swapping, while another accomplice is said to be on the run.
Olalekan and Egbede had confessed and disclosed that they were promised N20,000 for every sim card swapped for the gang.
They also disclosed to the police that Ajisafe upon supplying them their passport photographs, procured national ID cards for them, with names of bank’s account holders. “This is to be accompanied with sworn affidavit on loss of SIM card,” said Lekan. 
Police sources further revealed that several details of bank customers sent via SIMs to Ajisafe’s line by some people believed to be banks’ insiders have been retrieved from his mobile phone.
The fraudsters, according to sources, usually met in Idi-Araba (Mushin), National Filling Station (Ikeja Along), and Kotangoa Market (Alimosho) to perfect their plans whenever they have jobs and when it was time to share the proceed of their loots.
While confirming the incident, the Lagos State Police Command Public Relations Officer (PPRO), ASP Olarinde Famous Cole, said that there would be no hiding place for criminals in Lagos State, adding that officers of the command have always been at alert to nip any crime in the bud.
He said the seven suspects have been transferred to the operatives attached to the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID), Panti Street, Yaba, for further probe into the matter.

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