Three arrested for multimillion naira COVID-19 scam

THREE men have been arrested by the cybercrime unit of the INTERPOL National Central Bureau (NCB), Abuja, in relation to a suspected fraudulent online procurement and supply of COVID-19 protective masks received through the INTERPOL NCB Wiesbaden, Germany.

The suspects, Samson Inegbenesun, 30, Blessed Junior, 32, and Muhammed Zakari, 36, all natives of Uromi, Edo State, were arrested for alleged cybercrime including advance-fee fraud, money laundering and romance scam.

Police said they belonged to a transnational syndicate that has defrauded their victims of hundreds of millions of naira.

A statement yesterday by force spokesman DCP Frank Mba said Turkey-based Inegbenosun supplied foreign and local bank accounts to receive fraudulent funds.

He said the accounts were also used as conduits to other feeder accounts, adding that the police recovered a house worth N20million, a Toyota RAV4 2015 model valued at N6.5million and a Toyota Matrix 2002 model worth N2,000,000 which he procured with proceeds of crime.

Mba said Junior returned from Italy in February but maintained close dealings with his associates there.

“Investigations revealed that he has made over N120m from internet fraud and other cybercrime dealings. He also received the sum of €52,000 recently from his criminal associates in Italy as commission for his active involvement in an international cybercrime deal. He owns a filling station established with the proceeds of the crime,” Mba said.

“Zakari, an expert in internet fraud, identity theft and impersonation, falsely claimed to be a British citizen. He also posed as one Kelly Galk on online dating apps which he used to carry out romance scams and to defraud unsuspecting members of the public, locally and internationally.”

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