From AIDOGHIE PAULINUS and PETER EMERAGHI, Abuja The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Nigeria Office Chief Representative, Nakamura Hirotaka, has said that Nigeria is presently struggling to meet its aspects of the cooperation with Japan. Hirotaka made the disclosure during the send-forth for participants for the African Business Education (ABE) Initiative for Youth programme…
How dismissed Lagos civil servant used fake bank statements, alerts to secure multi-million loans
By CHIOMA IGBOKWE
Call him evil genius, you’ll not be wrong. And this is why operatives of the Rapid Response Squad (RRS), Lagos State Police Command are grilling him to unravel his web of criminal exploits. Olaogun Babatunde Amos aged 31 is now cooling his heels behind bars for allegedly using fake statement of account and bank alerts to defraud unsuspecting victims.
He is said to have used these forged documents to take millions of naira from several Microfinance banks in Lagos State.
He was picked up when his latest victim, a computer dealer alerted the police that Amos took goods worth millions of naira from him with no plans of paying back. According to the police, as soon the news about his arrest broke, other victims besieged the station alleging that he defrauded them through fake bank statements and alerts.
Debts led me into crime
At the police station, Amos who has no property or investment in his name told Saturday Sun that he is indebted to the tune of N20million most of which he got from banks.
“I am not a criminal; I was just finding a way out to pay my debts. I owe about N20million and it was my quest to offset this debt that landed me in trouble. My trouble could be traced back to 2013, when I had an opportunity to supply furniture worth millions of naira. Out of desperation, I gave a quotation that was below the cost price, so I got the contract. My calculation was to gain their trust with the hope that I will cover up when more contracts come my way. It did not work as planned and the bank that I borrowed from came after me.
“It cost me my job as a staff at the Government House, Alausa because I was taking advantage of any opportunity I get in the office to raise money. To meet up, I started borrowing money again. On my own, I discovered a method that I could use to collect loans from microfinance banks.
“My plan was to collect loans, invest and make money which I will gradually use to service all my debts. It was the money that I got that I used to open a lounge on Awolowo Road in Ikeja. It was the same method that I used to convince one importer of computers to give me goods worth millions. I took the goods and sold them less than the cost price to mop up cash. I was hoping to make some money somehow, before they discovered that I was worth nothing,” he said.
On how he managed to create bank statements, Amos said that he studied the online statements that banks normally send and discovered that they can be edited. “They used Microsoft excel to create the bank statement. All I did was to edit it and expand the amount of money in the account. What people normally do is just to check the balance without confirming the content. I only edit the first page and print it out. It was the statement of account that I presented to all the microfinance banks and they granted me loans.”
“On the bank alerts, I also know how to edit it to look as if it originated from the bank. Give me a computer and I will do the magic for you,” he boasted.
He identified some of the microfinance banks as Addosa where he collected N4million. Others are Page, Credit Ville, Empire Trust and Omnibus Foundation. “I still owe those banks. I took the money with the hope that I will invest and make much gain. The lounge which was supposed to be a money spinning business also failed me. The more I try to settle my debts, the more I slip into more debts.”
He pleaded for more time to pay off his debts insisting that he is not a criminal. “It was all those debts that landed me in trouble. I am not a criminal; I just devised a smart way to convince people to give me money.”
At the police station, some of the victims were seen telling their tales of woes in the hands of Amos. One of such persons is Chidinma who lost N750,000. “We were friends in the past and when I came back to Lagos, I hooked up with him. He invited me to his lounge and we relaxed and talked about life generally. I knew he was married so I felt that he is responsible at this stage in his life.
“I told him that I needed to buy a car but I do not have enough money. As my ex-boyfriend, I wasn’t surprised when he agreed to add up the balance and buy me a car. He gave me an account number, which he said belongs to the car dealer and I paid in N750, 000 sometime in August 2016. He also took me to the car stand where I selected the type of car I wanted. The car dealer told me that the one I saw had already been sold to another person, that, mine will be ready the following week.
“I agreed and left. Since last year till date, it has been one story or another. I could not trace the car dealer and he made me believe that the man had disappeared with our money.
I was happy when RRS men called to inform me that they were investigating him for fraud”, she said.
Yet another victim, Seun who is also his ex-girlfriend, parted with N500, 000 which she gave him to help her buy a Nigerian used car. “When I discovered that he was wasting my time, I demanded my money. I went to his office and demanded my money. He said he had transferred the money but I did not get an alert. I checked my account balance but it showed that the money is not there. He showed me the alert he got which showed that he has transferred the money to my account. It also showed that he has millions of naira in the account. He took me to Keystone Bank and we met a staff of the bank outside, he told me that they had network problem and it will take time before it will be rectified. I was still waiting when RRS operatives invited me to the police station after his arrest for fraud”, she explained.