Five men suspected to be fake real estate agents that operatives of the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) arrested have confessed to defrauding people seeking accommodation.
The men, comprising Abolade Oladimeji, 43; Ademola Ayo, 45; Emmanuel Fabiyi, 65; Ademola Hakeem, 49; and Sunday Ayodele, 52, were said to have been arrested last Wednesday at Lekki Phase 2, Lagos, when they were allegedly on the verge of unlawfully leasing someone else’s duplex to an accommodation seeker for N4.5 million.
The suspects, residents of border towns of Lagos and Ogun states, were said to have advertised the property they intended to lease on an online platform, knowing the deal to be fraudulent.
The suspected leader of the gang, Hakeem, allegedly said he had been using his knowledge of the computer to post for sale and lease on various websites non-existing landed property, apartments and buildings. He added they lured unsuspecting members of the public with attractive prices.
Hakeem confessed in his statement that early September, he posted a vacant four-bedroom duplex in Lekki Phase 2, which attracted many people, including one Mr Obi.
He said, “Immediately he called me through the contact on the advertisement, I knew he was genuine. I mobilized my colleagues and allocated roles to each of them to make the deal seamless. Oladimeji conducted himself as the estate lawyer. He discussed at length with our client on the legal angle and visitation before payment.
“Ayo was in charge of taking clients on house or land inspection. Fabiyi played the role of a principal agent and sometimes acted as site engineer, while Ayodele assisted Fabiyi to make him look like a big man well-groomed and seasoned in the business.
“After the inspection, Mr Obi requested to pay us with a cheque. Initially, we rejected as our mode of payment is through bank transfer. This is to avoid too much contact as we have dedicated account owners who connive with various teams of fraud syndicates that receive deposits into their accounts and collect 30 per cent of the proceeds. After much deliberation on the mode of payment, we agreed to collect the cheque,” he said.
Hakeem added that Obi was trying to cross the t’s of the lease when he suspected something fishy.
“He did a little research, which took him to the real landlord of the estate. Together, they played along with the fraudsters, while a police team was briefed on the development,” a police source told our correspondent.
The police team later ambushed the fraudsters and arrested all of them at the cheque collection venue at Lekki Phase 2.
Sexagenarian Fabiyi also confessed, “My age has been instrumental in the various scams we’ve perpetrated. Unsuspecting victims felt that a man of my age wouldn’t be a scammer. This made them to do business with us and part with their money for land purchases, rent or lease of properties.”
He disclosed that the police made them repay N3.2m.
Pleading never to return to the fraudulent business if released, Fabiyi stated that his family members had warned him not to be involved in any fraudulent deal again.
He lamented being a disgrace to his wife and children. “I am a disgrace to my family, as an elder in church and a grandpa. My children warned me to desist from fraud after I was arrested last year but I didn’t listen to them,” he stated.
He added that the N4.5m he and his colleagues were to collect from Obi was to be shared in the following manner: the account owner, 30 per cent; Hakeem, who initiated the deal, 30 per cent; Oladimeji, 10 per cent; Ayodele, 10 per cent; and 20 per cent for himself.