Current news as the leader of the Syndicate, Ifeanyi Ezewan, a notorious fraudster who is currently being detained at the Kuje Maximum Prison, Abuja from where he was coordinating his operations, was said to have masterminded the fraud, which saw several businessmen including car and auto spear parts dealers losing most of their goods worth millions of naira to the syndicate.
According to report as police sources who spoke with Vanguard disclosed that members of the syndicate had defrauded several victims in various states including the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja,
Method of operation
The source explained that members of the syndicate usually approached traders pretending they wanted to buy goods and after negotiations, they would ask their victims to forward their account number so as to transfer the agreed money to them.
The source added that when the fraudsters received the account number, they would, in some cases, credit the victims’ account with the agreed sum and the victim would receive an alert to that effect but when victims checked at the bank to confirm their balance, the money would not be in the account.
According to the source; “they do this mostly on Friday evening because they know banks don’t work on Saturdays and Sundays and by Monday when the victim goes to the bank to check his account balance it will be discovered that no money was paid in his account. At that time the victim would have released the goods to the fraudsters.
“The leader of the gang who is in prison, used a smart phone that was connected to the internet and through online retail sites like OLX, JIJI and Jumia, he connected with people who wanted to sell their valuables especially cars and he would communicate with them via WhatsApp.
"When he was buying a vehicle, which were usually very expensive vehicles, he would ensure that he was dealing with the rightful owner of the vehicle and would send members of his syndicate to verify the real state of the vehicle. When he was sure of what he wanted, he would swindle owners of such vehicles using fake bank alert while the members of his syndicate would have driven the car away.”
The source disclosed further that some of his victims who had lost expensive vehicles, that include Mercedes G Wagon, Hummer, Toyota Highlander to the syndicate, wrote petitions to the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, who directed his operatives at the IRT led by ACP Abba Kyari, to track down the syndicate, adding that their investigation led them to a house in Abuja, where a G wagon, Hummer Jeep, Honda Odessy, and a Honda End of discussion were discovered.
Victims narrate experience
Some of the victims who spoke with Vanguard narrated how they were defrauded by the syndicate.
Mohammed Saleke, car dealer in Abuja, told Vanguard how Ezenwa swindled him of Mercedes G Wagon.
He said; “On the day he defrauded me and made away with my vehicle worth N7million, he sent a man to my car stand and bargained the price of the vehicle and later took its photograph and sent to him. My boy, Obinna, was the one dealing with them and when they agreed to our price they took my account number.
"They insisted on transferring the money to my Diamond bank account number. When I gave it to them, I received an alert after one hour and I called them to come and collect their vehicle.
"That was on a Friday, but by Monday when I went to the bank to check my account I discovered no money was paid into it. When I received the alert it had my previous balance in it. I wondered how he was able to get access into my account. This incident happened in November 2016 and I have been looking for the vehicle.
"Early this year, members of his syndicate also attempted to defraud one of my friends, Abdulrahman who called me that a man attempted to use the same trick that was used agains me to defraud him. He got the boys arrested and they told the police that their boss was in the prison. We then made efforts to track down my vehicle but we were not successful.
"But last week I got a call from the IRT and they told me that my G Wagon has been recovered from an apartment in Abuja. When I checked the vehicle chassis and engine numbers they matched with mine.”