Operatives of the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) have arrested five men suspected to be real estate scammers.
They were nabbed at the point of exchange of money and keys while trying to lease out someone else’s duplex in Lekki Phase II to a house seeker for N4.5 million
Abolade Oladimeji, 43, Ademola Ayo, 45, Emmanuel Fabiyi, 65, Hakeem Ademola, 49, and Sunday Ayodele, 52, advertised the property on an online platform (jiji.com).
Leader of the gang, Ademola said he had been using his knowledge of computer to post for sale and lease non-existing landed property, apartments and buildings on various websites. He added that they lure unsuspecting public with attractive prices.
Ademola said in early September, he posted a vacancy of a four-bedroom duplex in Lekki Phase II which attracted so many people amongst whom was one Obi.
RRS quoted him as saying: “Immediately he called me through the contact on the advertisement, I knew he was genuine. I mobilised 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 as well as visitation before payment. “Ayo was in charge of taking the client 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 who is well-groomed and seasoned in the business.
“After the inspection, 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 proceed. After much deliberation on the mode of payment, we agreed to collect the cheque.”
According to RRS, Obi suspected something was 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,” police said.
A decoy team of the RRS ambushed the fraudsters and arrested the five of them at the various positions at the venue of cheque collection.
Fabiyi, popularly called Baba said: “my age has been so instrumental in the various scams we have perpetrated. Unsuspecting victims get convinced that a man of my age wouldn’t be a scammer. This makes them want to do business with us and part with their hard-earned money for land purchases, rent or lease of properties.”
Baba said the police made them repay N3.2 million in one of their recent scams.
He added that the gang had been involved in many successful property scams both in Lagos and Ogun State.
While pleading never to return to the business if allowed to go, he stated that his family had warned him not to get involved in any fraudulent deals again.
He lamented being a disgrace to his wife and children as a father.
“I am a shame to my family as an elder in the 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 said.
Commissioner of Police (CP) Zubairu Muazu advised Lagosians to be more careful while dealing with estate/property agents and always request to see the owner of the property, and also verify the identity before parting with their hard-earned money.