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EFCC Breaks Into Lagos Hotel, Arrests 30 Over Fraud

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No fewer than 30 suspects have been arrested by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC during a raid on Parktonian Hotel in the Lekki area of Lagos State.

 

 

During the raid on Tuesday, the operatives were alleged to have gained entry into the occupants’ rooms by seizing the master cards from the management of the hotel at gunpoint.

 

 

When the operatives gained entry into the rooms, it was learnt that some of the occupants were naked under the duvet as the operatives interrogated the occupants.

 

 

One of the victims, while lamenting the invasion, told the Peoples Gazette, “I was naked, and I had to beg them (for me) to put something on. I am actually hypertensive, but I put myself together because I am not a criminal in any way.”

 

 

An eyewitness told the Peoples Gazette, “They broke into the hotel and threatened to shoot the receptionists and management workers if they didn’t immediately release the master access card to them. So, the hotel workers had to comply immediately.”

 

 

According to the newspaper, it was learnt that no fewer than 13 guests were whisked away by the EFCC operatives during the raid.

 

 

During a telephone interview with a representative of the Parktonian Hotel, who simply identified himself as Christian, he told PUNCH correspondent that he was not aware of the incident.

 

He said, “I am not in the right place to talk to you; it is the manager that can talk to you. I just resumed this evening; I have been off for some days and I just resumed today. I don’t know what you are talking about.”

However, when contacted, the spokesperson for the EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, said the operatives acted on verified intelligence targeted at suspects at Parktonian Hotel, adding that 30 suspects were arrested during the raid.

 

He said, “Operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, acting on verified intelligence, carried out a sting operation targeted at cybercrime suspects at Parktonian Hotel in the Lekki area of Lagos State in the early hours of Tuesday.

 

“During the exercise, 30 suspects were arrested. Of this number, 24 have been established to be involved in internet-related fraud. The operation was executed without incident as the facility had been under surveillance for weeks during which the commission was able to isolate the rooms where the suspects were lodged.

 

“Access to the rooms was seamless as the commission has standard procedure for accessing such facilities without application of force or discomfort to guests. No guest of the hotel was molested.

 

“But the commission observes a disturbing trend in which cybercrime suspects now employ kept ladies who feign nakedness as a decoy to distract operatives of the commission to enable them to destroy incriminating evidence before arrest.”

 

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Hushpuppi Pleads Guilty To Fraud

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Nigerian scammer Ramon Olorunwa Abbas also known as Hushpuppi has pleaded guilty to fraud in an American court.

 

 

United States Department of Justice (DoJ) in a statement on Wednesday said court documents show that Abbas, a 37-year-old Nigerian national, pleaded guilty on April 20.

 

 

A version of Hushpuppi’s plea agreement filed late Tuesday outlines his role in a school finance scheme, as well as several other cyber and business email compromise schemes that cumulatively caused more than $24 million in losses.

 

 

Acting United States Attorney Tracy L. Wilkison said Hushpuppi allegedly faked the financing of a Qatari school by playing the roles of bank officials and creating a bogus website in a scheme that also bribed a foreign official to keep the elaborate pretense going after the victim was tipped off.

 

 

Wilkison stated that Hushpuppi played “a significant role in the scheme, funded his luxurious lifestyle by laundering illicit proceeds generated by con artists who use increasingly sophisticated means.”

 

 

Kristi K. Johnson, the Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office said Hushpuppi “among the most high-profile money launderers in the world, has admitted to his significant role in perpetrating global BEC fraud, a scheme currently plaguing Americans.

 

 

“His celebrity status and ability to make connections seeped into legitimate organizations and led to several spin-off schemes in the U.S. and abroad,” Johnson said in the DoJ statement.

 

 

Hushpuppi and members of his gang were arrested while sleeping at their Dubai residences in June 2020.

 

 

The Nigerian fraudster was arrested along with Olalekan Jacob Ponle, also known as Woodberry and 10 others.

 

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Alleged N29bn Fraud: You Have A Case To Answer, Court Tells Nyako, Son

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Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has ordered Murtala Nyako (retd.) to enter his defence in the alleged N29 billion money laundering charge preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

 

 

Justice Abang gave the order on Monday while ruling on the no-case submission filed by the former Adamawa governor, his son Abdul-Aziz and other defendants in the matter.

 

 

The other defendants are Zulkifik Abba, Abubakar Aliyu, Blue Opal Ltd, Tower Assets Management Ltd and Crust Energy Ltd.

 

 

The judge said that he had painstakingly perused the evidence given by the 21 witnesses called by the prosecution and was of the view that the prosecution had established a prima facie case against the defendants.

 

 

“I have calmly, carefully, and painstakingly scrutinised the evidence adduced by the 21 witnesses in chief and under cross-examination including the oral and written arguments of all the defendants.

 

 

“I have again carefully and painstakingly considered the evidence of the 21 witnesses and the massive documentary evidence and the extrajudicial statements of the defendants.

 

 

“I have carefully considered the legal arguments of all the counsel for the defendants, their written and oral arguments, and the argument of the prosecution in this ruling.

 

“It is my humble but firm view that the prosecution has established a prima facie case against the defendants and they are required to enter their defence immediately.”

 

 

The judge held that the no-case submission filed by the defendants lacked merit and he accordingly dismissed it.

 

 

He adjourned the matter until October 4, October 5, October 7, and October 8 for the defendants to open their case.

 

 

The EFCC is prosecuting the former governor and his son, Abdul-Aziz; two companies, Sebore Farms and Extension Ltd and Pagado Fortunes Ltd, over money laundering offences.

 

 

The EFCC had arraigned them on a 37-count charge of criminal conspiracy, stealing, abuse of office, and money laundering.

 

 

The trial began on July 7, 2015, and the anti-graft agency closed its case on November 3, 2019, having called 21 witnesses to establish its case against the defendants.

 

 

Instead of opening their defence, the defendants elected to file a no-case submission in which they argued that the facts adduced by all the witnesses called by the prosecution did not prove the allegation against them.

 

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Kano Police Arrest 10 For Allegedly Hacking Bank Accounts

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The police in Kano State have confirmed the arrest of eight men and two women for allegedly belonging to a syndicate that specialises in hacking individuals’ bank accounts to withdraw money.

 

 

The Public Relations Officer, DSP Abdullahi Haruna-Kiyawa, disclosed this in a statement in Kano.

 

 

“On July 14, at about 23:50hrs, a team of policemen led by DSP Kabir Wali working on credible information arrested the suspects in a hotel in Kano metropolis.

 

 

“The suspects are Umar Aminu, Muhammad Muhammad, Kabiru Idris, Salim Sani, Umar Muhammad, Yusuf Ibrahim, Aminu Lawan, Jibril Aliyu, Hauwa Abubakar and Aisha Abubakar.

 

 

“They all reside in Sheka quarters, Kano and were arrested in connection with electronic card-related fraud,” Haruna-Kiyawa said.

 

 

He said that the suspects confessed to hacking various individuals bank accounts and withdrawing various amounts of money.

 

 

The Commissioner of Police, Mr Sama’ila Shu’aibu-Dikko, he said, has ordered for discreet investigation into the matter.

 

 

He added that the suspects would be charged to court after investigations.

 

 

In a related development, Haruna-Kiyawa confirmed the arrest of 21 armed robbery suspects, seven kidnap suspects, 23 drug dealers, 18 suspected fraudsters, five vehicle theft suspects, 11 cattle rustlers and 140 notorious thugs.

 

 

He said that the suspects were arrested in the 44 Local Government Councils of the state under a “clearance Operations” to rid the state of all forms of crimes.

 

 

The spokesman said that nine locally-made guns, four vehicles and three motorcycles were recovered during the operation.

 

 

He said the police also recovered 265 knives, 28 scissors, 80 sharp rods, 145 parcels of dried leaves, 176 mobile phones, six cows and N3 million, among others during the operations.

 

 

(NAN)

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