Nigerian scammer pulls off $1m heist from prison

GhanaGeria

Na Frustrate Go Kill All Diss Phools?
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-50480495

19 November 2019

A convicted internet fraudster has been placed under investigation in Nigeria for allegedly masterminding a "mega scam" from a maximum-security prison worth at least $1m (£773,000).

Anti-corruption officials said Hope Olusegun Aroke used a "network of accomplices" for the fraud.

He was arrested in 2012 and has been serving a 24-year sentence at the Kirikiri Maximum Security Prison.

But a preliminary investigation found he still had access to the internet.

In a statement on Tuesday, Nigeria's Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said it had received intelligence about Aroke's scam and was faced with the "riddle" of how he was able to "continue to ply his ignoble trade" from inside the Lagos prison.

Following his arrest in 2012, the EFCC said the then Malaysia-based student was the "arrow head of an intricate web of internet fraud schemes that traverse two continents".

The EFCC this week said its preliminary investigation had revealed that, "against standard practice", Aroke had been given access to the internet and his phone. He had also been admitted to the Nigeria Police Hospital in Lagos for an "undisclosed ailment" and had been able to leave the facility to stay in hotels, meet with his wife and children, and attend social functions.

He had used the fictitious name Akinwunmi Sorinmade to open two bank accounts and bought a luxury car and homes during his time in prison, the EFCC added. He had also been "in possession of his wife's bank account token in prison, which he used to freely transfer funds."

Anti-corruption officials are investigating why he was admitted to hospital and how he was able to travel to hotels and other places.

The Kirikiri Maximum Security Prison is managed by the Nigerian Correctional Service, which has not yet commented on the case.

Mugu.jpg
 

GhanaGeria

Na Frustrate Go Kill All Diss Phools?
Case prompts suspicion over corrupt officials
By Nduka Orjinmo, BBC News, Lagos

This is a case that has shocked many Nigerians: how a convict serving time at the country's foremost maximum security prison was allegedly able to operate freely.

Many believe that Aroke could have pulled off his alleged exploits only with the help of corrupt prison officials.

Illicit proceeds make internet fraudsters in Nigeria wealthy and they could easily bribe vulnerable prison officials who are poorly paid.

So far, no-one has been suspended even though it is a major breach of security.

The anti-corruption agency, which put Aroke behind bars, has called it a "riddle" and has promised a thorough investigation.

It is not clear if the agency has managed to change his prison guards, as it is outside its jurisdiction.

And the other question many Nigerians are asking is: Of the many wealthy prisoners - politicians and internet fraudsters - in jail, who else has "bribed" his way out, enjoying a lifestyle fit for royalty?
 

Sphinx

Administrator
Staff member
Corrupt officials, gee, ya think? ;)
 

GhanaGeria

Na Frustrate Go Kill All Diss Phools?

Roboto

Administrator
https://www.theregister.co.uk/2019/11/21/nigerian_fraudster_prison/

Orange is the new green: Nigeria scammer bags $1m while operating behind bars

Fraudster oversaw operation with contraband phone

By Shaun Nichols in San Francisco 21 Nov 2019

A convicted fraudster housed in a maximum security prison in Nigeria managed to pull off a $1m (£775,000) online scam from behind bars.

The African nation's Economic and Financial Crimes Commission this week said Hope Olusegun Aroke, who is serving a 24-year stretch for a previous fraud conviction in 2015, used a contraband cellphone and a network of accomplices outside prison to scam foreigners out of money online.

"The immediate riddle that confronted the EFCC was how it was possible for the convict to continue to ply his ignoble trade of internet fraud from prison," the commission said.

"Preliminary investigation revealed that that the convict, against established standard practice, had access to internet and mobile phone in the Correctional Centre where he is supposed to be serving his jail term."

Using that phone and internet connection, it is believed that Aroke was able to mastermind the scams (the EFCC does not say exactly what the caper involved) as well as register two bank accounts, shift money between those accounts and one used by his wife, and purchase $60,690 of real estate and a new Lexus RX 350 for his spouse.

Aroke appears to be something of a savant when it comes to internet fraud, even for a country like Nigeria where internet scams are or at least were big business.

The commission says his 24-year sentence for fraud came after he was found posing as a computer science student at a Malaysian university. While pretending to be studying in Kuala Lumpur, Aroke oversaw a massive criminal operation spread out between Asia and Africa. He was ordered to serve two consecutive 12-year terms.

While the EFCC has yet to figure out exactly how Aroke was able to get the phone, internet connection, and bank token he used to set up and maintain the fraud operation, they note he had earlier been able to get out of the prison for a brief period to get medical treatment.

It was found that when he left the prison to be treated for the unspecified illness, Aroke first stayed at the hospital, but later moved to a hotel where he was able to meet with his wife and family, as well as attend parties.

As you might imagine, this is not the sort of thing typically afforded to an inmate at a maximum security prison, and the EFCC is investigating that matter as well.
 

Roboto

Administrator
EFCC arrests controller of Kirikiri prison, Emmanuel Oluwaniyi over ?$1m scam?

EFCC arrests controller of Kirikiri prison, Emmanuel Oluwaniyi over ‘$1m scam’

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arrested Emmanuel Oluwaniyi, controller of Kirikiri Maximum Prison for his role in allowing Hope Aroke, a convicted internet fraudster, to receive treatment outside the prison, where he is serving a 24-year jail term.

According to the commission, Aroke, also known as “H.Money”, had masterminded a mega scam to the tune of over $1 million from prison, using a network of accomplices. He said preliminary investigation revealed that the convict had access to the internet and mobile phone in detention.

Also arrested was Hemeson Edwin, head of the medical center at Kirikiri Prison, who allegedly gave exaggerated medical report that warranted the referral for Aroke to be treated outside the facility.

In a statement, Wilson Uwujaren, spokesman of the anti-graft agency, said the duo were arrested on Monday. “The suspects have given useful information to the Commission about their alleged involvement in the crime,” Uwujaren said.
“Aroke was one of the two Malaysia-based Nigerian undergraduate fraudsters arrested by the EFCC towards the end of 2012 at the 1004 Housing Estate, Victoria Island, Lagos, following a tip-off.”
Uwujaren said Aroke, who hails from Okene In Kogi state, had claimed to be a student of computer science at the Kuala Lumpur Metropolitan University, Malaysia. He said the agency later discovered the Aroke as the “arrow head of an intricate web of an internet fraud scheme that traverses two continents”.

“When Aroke was arrested, a search conducted by EFCC operatives on his apartment led to the recovery of several items such as laptops, iPad, traveling documents, cheque books, flash drives, internet modem, and three exotic cars – a Mercedes Benz Jeep, One 4Matic Mercedes Benz Car and a Range Rover Sport SUV,” Uwujaren said.
“He was eventually convicted by Justice Lateefa Okunnu of the Lagos State High Court, Ikeja on two counts of obtaining money by false pretence, cheque cloning, wire transfer and forgery.
“He was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment on each of the two.”
 
Top