The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has arrested a five- man syndicate for attempting to defraud various banks in the country.
The scammers attempted the fraud by inserting a device called “grabber” into banks’ computer systems in order to copy account information of different customers and post funds from those accounts into various accounts belonging to the syndicate.
The leader of the gang, Godwin Ojukwu, 47, and his other colleagues – Moses Onyema; Henry Akieru, Onyebuolisa Chima and Kenneth Iweha – were arrested by men of the Department of State Security, DSS, in Warri, Delta State and Umuahia in Abia State.
Ojukwu, who masterminded the crime, was said to have approached Akieru, staff of an Ecobank branch in Warri, to get an insider of the bank, who could access the bank’s data base that would enable them carry out dry posting of funds into bank accounts domiciled in other banks.
Akieru reportedly approached Chima who was a contract staff with the bank’s Information Technology, IT, department. Chima agreed and promised to provide the details. The details Chima eventually provided was discovered to be fake.
When the scheme failed, Ojukwu contacted Onyema, a drop out student of Business Technology at a University in Holland, the Netherlands.
Onyema said Ojukwu had approached him sometime in July, 2013 urging him to partake in a deal that will fetch him N7.5million if he was able to provide someone who would offer an insider information on any bank.
Onyema later got introduced to Mishag through one of his friends, Iweha. Investigations showed that Mishag is a Diamond bank staff in Umuahia, Abia state and was contacted on phone and details of the scam disclosed to him.
Specifically, Ojukwu told Mishag that a device known as “grabber” will be given to him to insert into the data base of his bank to break into accounts of customers with large deposits.
The arrangement was to steal the sum of N25 million from each of the accounts if the “grabber” was able to decode the account information.
Four accounts were targeted and the sum total of N 100million was to be moved from the parent accounts into other banks’ accounts being operated by the fraudsters after which members of the syndicate will share the funds in equal formula.
Ojukwu alongside Onyema and Iweha later travelled to Umuahia to meet Mishag. They arrived Umuahia on a Sunday, met with Mishaq and gave him the device. The group agreed to reconvene on Wednesday of same week to collect the grabber after the accounts had been moved.
On the day they were to meet, unknown to Ojukwu and his accomplices, Mishaq had alerted the bank’s management who in- turn informed the DSS and they were rounded up at the hotel where they lodged.
The suspects were later taken to the DSS office in Umuahia from where they were later handed over to the EFCC.
Ojukwu, the kingpin of the syndicate, confessed to the crime. He said one Tokunbo, now at large, introduced him to the deal and promised to reward him with part of the cash if he succeeded in bringing forth the banks’ accounts.
The five suspects are currently being held at the EFCC’s Lagos Zonal office and will soon be charged to court.