Cyber crime ‘wizard’, friend in police net for duping American $10,000
By CHRISTOPHER OJI
Thursday, May 06, 2010
A 25-year-old suspected Internet fraudster, Chucks Chukwuedo, has told detectives at the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID), Panti, Yaba, Lagos, how he would channel his knowledge in computer to positive ventures.
Chukwuedo, who was described by policemen interrogating him, as a computer wizard, could use the “computer to design just anything.”
The suspect and his friend, Edokpia Shola, were arrested for allegedly swindling an American, Haword Kuklin, millions of naira. Trouble started for Chukwuedo, when he allegedly designed Oceanic bank website, which he used in duping the American. He was, however, arrested when he went to withdraw the money from the bank.
Shola had earlier gone to a branch of Diamond Bank in Benin, Edo State, to withdraw some amount of money, without Chukwuedo’s consent. The bank staff, however, became suspicious when he came few minutes, after Shola had left the bank after withdrawing some money from the same account. The bank staff were said to have played along with Chukwuedo, as they invited policemen, who arrested him.
And when Chukwuedo was shown Shola’s photograph, who the bank had earlier thought was the original owner of the account, he opened up to the police. Speaking with Daily Sun, Chukwuedo said: “I am a computer wizard. There is nothing I cannot design with the computer. I manipulate the computer very well. I am assuring you that if I am left off the hook, I am going to channel my knowledge of computer to positive ventures.”
The man, who described his friend, Shola, as a betrayer, gave a graphic account of their involvement in cyber crime. He said Shola was the cause of his predicament. He blamed him for implicating him in the matter. He told the police how he visited Shola in Benin City and made use of the computer throughout the night. According to him, after chatting with his victim, who is in Los Angeles, he forgot to sign out and left for Lagos.
Chukwuedo said Shola monitored his conversation with the victim through e-mail ID. And immediately the victim paid the money into his account, Shola went and printed a fake driver’s licence and used it to withdraw part of it.
He said he didn’t know that Shola went to the bank, adding that he went to another branch of the bank in Lagos, almost the same time he withdrew from the same account and the cashier became suspicious. The cashier, he said, delayed him and contacted policemen, who arrested him.
He explained that it was when the bank printed out the photograph of the person who came to withdraw money from the account that he discovered that it was Shola and quickly took the detectives to Benin City, where he was arrested. “It is unfair, he wanted to reap where he did not sow. I feel sad, very sad that I was arrested. He is a crook. If he had told me he went to the bank to withdraw some money from my account, I would not have messed up myself the way I did, God will judge him.”
Chukwuedo also blamed his present travails on greed. “I must also say that I have regretted being a greedy person, because I would have been contented with what my father left for me before his death. I have over 10 buildings with tenants. So, I think I am a greedy person,” he said.
Shola, who seemed to be remorseful said: “I have offended my friend, I did not know it would backfire. I think it was the handiwork of the devil. I couldn’t understand why my friend did not sign out, after using the Internet, when he knew he had such a sensitive deal with the American. I intended signing out for him but there was this urge for me to study what he was doing. I must say that I am very sorry for what I did.”
The Lagos State police spokesman, Mr. Frank Mba, a Superintendent of Police disclosed how Chukwuedo presented himself as an Accounting Officer working with the Oceanic Bank and designed a website, which looked like that of the bank and convinced the victim to invest in a business.
Mba said the victim was convinced to invest in the bank. “Chukwuedo, having received a signal that 10,000 dollars had been paid into his account went to the bank to withdraw the money but things went soar for him, as the bank contacted policemen who swung into action and arrested him.
He said the money would be recovered by the police and handed over to the owner. He disclosed that police also recovered fake Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Central Bank documents and many female photographs, which they were using to dupe unsuspecting victims, especially foreigners. The suspects would be charged to court for Advance Fee Fraud (419), impersonation and other related offences.