On April 25, 2022, suspected fraudsters, during a three-day cyber-attack, hacked a customer’s account domiciled in an old generation Nigerian bank and fraudulently transferred N523,337,100 from the account to 18 different accounts in the same bank.
According to SP Eyitayo Johnson, the spokesperson for the Police Special Fraud Unit in Ikoyi, Lagos State, the suspects subsequently transferred the money from the 18 accounts into 225 other accounts held at 22 different banks and financial organisations.
Johnson continued by saying that the Federal High Court in Lagos had issued him an order for the preservation, forfeiture, and attachment of a net sum of N523,337,100.
“In the course of the investigation, the sum of N160,287,071.47 was recovered from different banks; with two suspects arrested, while operatives are following other leads in order to apprehend the remaining members of the syndicate.
The suspects will be charged to court as soon as investigations are concluded,” Johnson said.
Another bank scam
In a related event, Excampo Nigeria Limited and its owner Sikiru Olayinka were charged with fraudulent conversion and theft on September 5, 2018, when $123,000 was inadvertently transferred into his company’s domiciliary account.
Johnson said, “On receipt of the funds into his account, Sikiru Olawale, within hours, quickly visited the bank and transferred $120,000.00 in two tranches into accounts of his cronies.
The bank made concerted efforts to recover the funds in order to channel same to the rightful account but Sikiru Olayinka refused and frustrated these efforts and continued to dissipate the money contrary to the provisions of Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act, 1991, and the Failed Banks Act, 1994.”
The Police Special Fraud Unit (PSFU) arraigned James Abidemi and Diamondsmith De-Great Universal Petroleum Corporation, as well as other suspects, before the Federal High Court in Lagos on September 15, 2022, according to Johnson.
The defendants were accused of conspiring to obtain N396,999,080.00 through false pretenses, fraudulent conversion, and theft.
He said, “The complainant is a consulting firm with prime focus in assisting clients to source and render payment services in foreign exchange for goods and services around the world.
“In furtherance to the memorandum of understanding between the consulting firm and the suspect, the suspect’s company, Diamondsmith De-Great Universal Petroleum, received the aforesaid sum in tranches, between May 23 to 28, 2022.
Johnson claimed that while the money was actually routed to another member of the gang, a banker in Ghana, who distributed the proceeds to numerous additional accomplices, the suspect gave false telexes as proof of remittance to foreign business associates of the victim.
The police commissioner notifies banks
Anyasinti Nneka, the SFU commissioner of police, commented on the issues of rise of scam and recommended banks and other financial institutions tighten their cyber-security controls and routinely examine the backgrounds of employees with login access to prevent hacker assaults.
The police head also urged the public to look into the causes of any unforeseen inflows into their accounts.
“Where such funds are found to have been wrongly credited, the recipient should cooperate with their banks and make conscious efforts to reverse or re-route the same. Utilising such funds is a criminal offence,” the police commissioner said.
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