Members of a criminal gang which connived with bankers to siphon money from the bank accounts of dead persons have been apprehended by the police in Lagos.
The Lagos State Police Command said the gang specialised in the cloning of Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) cards of prominent deceased persons.
Members of the gang, who were arrested by a team of the Rapid Response Squad, include the leader, Osita Nwafor, alias Ossy, Nwogu Chike, Anthony Odama, Ikechukwu Nkem, James Okonkwo, Adedio Paulinus and Olufemi Ogundepo.
According to a statement by the police, the suspects work with some bank workers in Nigeria and outside the country.
It was gathered that Chika was working on the transfer of $220,000 from a foreign bank, while Ogundepo was working on the transfer of N25m from an old generation bank in the country before they were arrested.
Nwafor, in his statement, explained that he recruited the gang members in 2019, adding that they worked independently.
Nwafor, the gang leader, said, “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.
“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.
“Chike look 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.”
Police sources disclosed that one of the bank workers who worked with the gang was arrested in Lagos.
Another banker involved in the criminal venture, who is based in Benin, Edo State, had been on the run after he learnt that members of the gang have been arrested by the police.
The suspects have been transferred to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad for further investigation, after which they will be prosecuted.