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Interpol arrests three over cybercrime, rescues American lady held hostage for 16 months

OPERATIVES of the Nigeria Police Cybercrime Unit, INTERPOL National Central Bureau, Abuja have arrested three suspects; Samson Inegbenesun, 30; Blessed Junior, 32; and Muhammed Zakari, 36, all male from Uromi in Edo State for cyber-related offences, including advance fee fraud, money laundering and romance scam.

The Police confirmed this in a statement released on Twitter on Sunday.

The suspects were arrested in Uromi following investigations into suspected fraudulent online procurement and supply of COVID-19 protective mask, received through the INTERPOL NCB Wiesbaden, Germany, the statement revealed.

Samson Inegbenosun, according to police investigations is an internet fraudster and a member of a Turkey-based online scamming syndicate.

He was supplying foreign and local bank accounts to receive fraudulent funds and used same as conduit to other feeder accounts.

The Police have recovered from him, a building apartment worth N20 million, a Toyota RAV-4 2015 model worth N6.5 million and a Toyota Matrix 2002 model valued at N2 million, which he procured with the proceeds of the crime.

The second suspect, Blessed Junior, returned to Nigeria from Italy in February 2020, but maintained close contacts and illicit dealings with his Italian associates, police said.

Junior has made over N120 million from internet fraud and other cybercrime dealings.

He also received 52,000 Euros recently from his criminal associates in Italy as commission for his active involvement in an international cybercrime deal.

He also owns a filling station established with the proceeds of the crime.

Mohammed Zakari, an expert in internet fraud, identity theft and impersonation, falsely claimed to be a British citizen.

He also posed to be one Kelly Galk on online dating apps, which he has been using to carry out romance scams and to defraud unsuspecting members of the public, locally and internationally.

According to the police statement, Zakari has made millions of naira from his illicit cybercrime transactions since he joined the syndicate.

Meanwhile, Police said they have rescued an American citizen confined in a Lagos hotel where she was held against her wish for over a year.

The victim, who hails from Washington DC, USA , is a retired civil servant in the US.

She arrived Nigeria on February 13, 2019 on a visit to one Chukwuebuka Kasi Obiaku, 34, a native of Ikeduru Local Government Area of Imo State, whom she met on Facebook.

She was however rescued by Police operatives attached to the Inspector General of Police Special Intelligence Response Team, Ogun State Annex, following information received from a Nigerian in the Meran area of Lagos State.

The rescue of the American lady came on the heels of a similar case of abducted Philippino lady who was lured to Nigeria by her supposed lover whom she equally met on Facebook.

The statement said all the suspects would be charged to court on conclusion of investigation and prosecuted in line with the Cybercrime Prevention/Prohibition Act, 2015.

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