Cybercrime: 3 nabbed in Abuja, American held for 16 months rescued in Lagos

Operatives of the Nigeria Police Force Cybercrime Unit, INTERPOL National Central Bureau (NCB), Abuja, have arrested three suspects: Samson Inegbenesun, 30; Blessed Junior, 32; and Muhammed Zakari, 36; for cyber-related offences including advance fee fraud, money laundering, and romance scam.

This is as Police operatives attached to the Intelligence Response Team (IRT), Ogun state Annex, have rescued an American citizen confined in a Lagos hotel for 16 months by one Chukwuebuka Kasi Obiaku, 34, a native of Ikeduru LGA of Imo state. 

Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO) in a press statement, Sunday in Abuja, said the suspects were arrested in Uromi, Edo state, following investigations into suspected fraudulent online procurement and supply of COVID-19 protective masks, received through the INTERPOL NCB Wiesbaden, Germany.He said, “Investigations reveal that Samson Inegbenosun is an internet fraudster and a member of a Turkey-based online scamming syndicate. 

He supplies foreign and local bank accounts to receive fraudulent funds and use the same as conduit to other feeder accounts.”
The spokesperson said 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.
He further stated that: “The second suspect, Blessed Junior, returned to Nigeria from Italy in February, 2020 but maintains close contacts and illicit dealings with his Italian associates. Investigations reveal that he has made over N120 million from internet fraud and other cybercrime dealings.

“He also received the sum of 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.”
According to him, “Mohammed Zakari, an expert in internet fraud, identity theft and impersonation, falsely claims to be a British citizen. He also poses to be one Kelly Galk on online dating apps which he uses to carry out romance scams and to defraud unsuspecting members of the public, locally and internationally. Investigation reveals he has made millions of naira from his illicit cybercrime transactions since he joined the syndicate.”

The spokesperson further stated that the American citizen, a retire civil servant in the US, who hails from Washington DC, USA, was held against her wish for over a year, however, she was rescued by the IRT following information received from a patriotic and civic minded Nigerian in the Meran Area of Lagos state.

Mba, who disclosed that the victim arrived Nigeria on February 13, 2019, to visit Obiaku a graduate of Business Administration and Management whom she met on Facebook, said investigations revealed that Obikau was an internet fraudster who has defrauded many unsuspecting members of the public both locally and internationally.
“Investigations reveal that the Chukwuebuka deliberately lured the victim into the country under the pretext of love and deceitfully married her on May 15, 2019. He subsequently held her captive in a hotel and extorted $48,000-USD from her.

“He also forcefully collected and took control of her credit and debit cards as well as the operation of her bank accounts including the receipt of her monthly retirement benefits and allowances over the period of 15 months. Chukwuebuka also used the victim as a front to defraud her associates and other foreign personalities and companies,” the spokesperson stated.

He 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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