The Lagos State Police Command has arrested a syndicate that specialise in cloning of Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) cards of dead prominent Nigerians, and emptying their bank accounts in connivance with some bank officials.
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Members of the syndicate were arrested after their leader, Osita Nwafor, was nabbed by men of the Rapid Response Squad (RRS).
Other members of the gang are: Nwogu Chike, Anthony Odama, Ikechukwu Nkem, James Okonkwo, Adedio Paulinus and Olufemi Ogundepo.
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According to a statement by the RRS, the suspects connive with some bank officials in Nigeria and outside the country, to loot funds of deceased persons.
It was gathered that Chike was working on the transfer of $220,000 from a foreign bank, while Ogundepo was on the transfer of N25 million from an old generation bank in the country, before they were arrested.
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When interrogated, Nwafor confessed that they look out for the obituary of wealthy Nigerians, and then work with their insiders in banks to determine their account balance and then clone their SIM cards for online transfer of their money.
“Although I brought the team together, each member of the group has his area of specialisation. We look for potential victims and each member has his role on each of the cases.
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“Once I have done my part of the deal by looking for SIMs and accounts numbers, I push them to whoever among the member has to play the next role and that is how we treat our cases and apart from this, each member of the gang also has his splinter group. Whenever they have personal jobs, they also handle on their own.
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“Chike looks for foreign and local accounts for money lodgements. I don’t know anything about how he does that, I simply hand over to Chike. He has his connections and they work on percentage and once they agree on the percentage when the money comes, everybody gets their cuts.
“We find obituaries of well to do members of the public, use bank insiders to determine the deceased’s account balance and clone their SIM cards for online transfers,” Nwafor said.
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It was reported that one of the syndicates’ bank informant was arrested in Lagos, while another one, who is based in Benin City, the Edo State capital, has gone into hiding after he learnt of the their arrest.
The suspected have been transferred to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad for further investigation and prosecution.