© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
Convicted fraudster inside Kirikiri caught in fresh $100m fraud
THE Kirikiri Maximum Prison in Lagos state is under fire as an incarcerated internet fraudster, Hope Olusegun Aroke, doing 24 year jail time in the prison has been caught masterminding another $100,000,000 fraud.
The Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said it is currently investigating Aroke who it said bears a fictitious name, Akinwunmi Sorinmade.
The convict had opened two accounts with First Bank Plc and Guaranty Trust Bank Plc.
A statement by EFCC on its official website said the convicted fraudster pulled the heist right from prison using a network of accomplices.
The lid on his latest scheme was blown following intelligence received by the EFCC, the Commission said.
EFCC said a preliminary investigation revealed 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.
“Even more puzzling was the finding that Aroke got himself admitted to the Nigeria Police Hospital, Falomo, Lagos for an undisclosed ailment. And from the hospital, he would move out to lodge in hotels, meet with his wife and two children and attend other social functions,” the statement said.
The circumstance of his admission into the hospital and those who aided his movement from the hospital to hotels and other social engagements, is already being investigated by the EFCC.
Besides the account that he opened with the two banks, the Commission revealed that Aroke also bought a property at Fountain Spring Estate, Lekki Lagos in 2018 for N22million and a Lexus RX 350 2018 model registered in his wife’s name, Maria Jennifer Aroke.
“The convict was also in possession of his wife’s bank account token in prison, which he used to freely transfer funds,” it said.
Further investigation revealed that, while his trial was ongoing in 2015, Aroke bought a four-bedroom duplex at Plot 12, Deji Fadoju Street, Megamounds Estate Lekki County Homes, Lekki for N48million.
Aroke was one of two Malaysia-based Nigerian undergraduate fraudsters arrested by the EFCC in the closing weeks of 2012 at the 1004 Housing Estate, Victoria Island, Lagos following a tip-off.
The indigene of Okene, Kogi State had claimed to be a student of Computer Science at the Kuala Lumpur Metropolitan University, Malaysia.
But the Commission’s investigation fingered him as the arrowhead of an intricate web of 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.
He was eventually convicted by Justice Lateefa Okunnu of a Lagos State High Court on two counts of obtaining money by false pretence, cheque cloning, wire transfer and forgery.
He was sentenced to twelve years imprisonment on each of the two counts.