Banker, undergraduates in a $21,600 marriage scam
From: vanguard online. Lagos, Nigeria, Saturday, October 25th, 2008.
A banker who works in the Western Union desk of one of the new generation banks, has been arrested by EFCC over his role in a marriage scam involving two undergraduates of Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye and a Malaysian lady who was swindled of $21,600.
The prime suspect, claimed that he met the victim, on a dating site on the internet and they started chatting. Soon, the chatting blossomed into a love affair.
The 18-year-old undergraduate who had assumed the identity of a non-existent Mark Park Lofton, an American national resident in Nigeria, said the only condition that the lady gave for the consummation of their romance was that he must be a Christian which he readily met.
And to convince his prey about his identity, he downloaded the picture of a tall American from the internet and sent it to the victim in Malaysia.
The Malaysian who is a divorcee with two children was fascinated by the photograph of the white man she saw, and she started dreaming of an enduring relationship. Unknown to her that she was being conned; she stepped up her chatting with the ‘white lover’.
The online romance was so hot to the extent that the victim contemplated coming to Nigeria so they could solemnize the relationship. She was so carried away that she promised to take her ‘fiancé’ to a Pastor in Lagos because, as she claimed, the pastor was known to her.
The suspect also promised to take his ‘fiancé’ to a fictitious Pastor Mathew Kalejaiye of non- existent Lifedon Christian Church Lagos.
Now conscious that he had the victim under his spell. The prime suspect began to release the tricks from his rich arsenal. He started by telling the woman that he would like to visit her in Malaysia before she arrives Nigeria for the marriage and that he would need money for ticket and other travel expenses.
The woman swallowed the bait and agreed to send money through Western Union.
At this juncture the fraudster realized that he would need to recruit more people to perfect the scam. He got a ready accomplice in 18- year old Idowu Olukunle Joseph, his childhood friend who is also an undergraduate of Olabisi Onabanjo University.
The commission’s duty was to present his identity card to collect the money being sent by the sucker and take it to the prime suspect for a commission.
When they realized that the ID card might give them away because of the frequency with which they visited the bank, they changed their strategy. The second suspect, Idowu stole his father’s driver’s license which they used to collect more money in the bank.
But despite the ingenuity of the duo, it wouldn’t have been so easy to defraud the 35 -year old Malaysian but for the ignoble role played by the third suspect, Mr. Adebayo, who was in charge of the Western Union Money Transfer desk at the Egbeda branch of the bank. He threw banking ethics into dustbin and provided cover for the fraudsters for a fee and in the process, the trio successfully defrauded the victim of $21,600.
The cat was let out of the bag when the woman discovered that the photograph sent to her by the principal suspect was actually downloaded from the internet.
Consequently, she petitioned EFCC and the operatives of the commission swung into action. In no time, the suspects were rounded up at Oshodi, a Lagos suburb.
They have all made useful statements and would soon be arraigned in court.
*What the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.*