Farmer forges signatures, steals N2m from bank

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BY EVELYN USMAN

LAGOS— A 54-year-old farmer has been arrested by the Police Special Fraud Unit, SFU, Milverton Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, over alleged fraudulent withdrawals of money from customers’ accounts in a new generation bank.

GODWIN-DIAVELThe suspect, Godwin Diavel, has allegedly succeeded in withdrawing about N2 million from different customers’ accounts within and outside Lagos.

But he met his waterloo, last Thursday, after he went to the Ogba branch of a new generation bank to withdraw N500,000 from the account of one Saheed Ademola Adegbola with a forged signature.

Explaining how he was arrested, spokeswoman for the Unit, Ngozi Nsintume-Agu, said on noticing that the picture on the bank’s system was different from the customer’s, the cashier posed some questions which the suspect, who hails from Oghare in Ethiope West Local Government Area of Delta State, could not answer and subsequently, contacted the unit.

Chronicle of his fraudulent withdrawals

Preliminary investigation, according to Nsintume-Agu, revealed that the suspect had been engaged in the fraudulent act for long, using pseudonyms.

According to her, “sometime in February 2014, the suspect was arrested at the Ejigbo branch of the bank where he identified himself as Peter Okoro while attempting to seek information on another customer’s account. He was subsequently held and handed over to the Police.

“Also on October 4, 2013, he was caught at Opebi branch where he identified himself as Samson Omobo and fraudulently impersonated another customer and attempted to withdraw N300,000.00 from the customer’s account.

“Similarly, on January 29, 2014, the suspect was at Ilupeju branch of the bank and impersonated one Sunday Onwuabaizo and successfully withdrew N470,000.00 from his account.

“Again, on November 19, 2013, he was at Abule Egba branch of the same bank where he impersonated one Chinedu E. Onwutaly and fraudulently withdrew N220,000.00.

“Also sometime in 2013, he was at Abraka branch of the bank where he succeeded in withdrawing N470,000 from the account of one Kabiru Mohammed Baday.

 

How I withdraw customers money

— Suspect

 

In his confessional statement, Daviel stated that he usually goes to various bank branches, picking up used withdrawal slips by customers. Thereafter, he said he would take the slips home and study the signatures before forging them for presentation.

He stated that he had on several occasions succeeded in withdrawing money from customer’s accounts in Delta State, adding that he was arrested at Opebi while attempting to withdraw N300,000.00 and was handed over to Police.

“The case was charged to court but was struck out because the bank did not come to give evidence,” he said, adding that he has no account with the said bank.

Investigation, according to the unit’s spokesperson, was on-going, adding: “It is strongly believed that the suspect belongs to a syndicate that specialises in forging documents and defrauding innocent Nigerians and financial institutions. Effort is on top gear to arrest other members of the syndicate. Suspect will be charged to court, soonest.

“The Commissioner of Police, SFU, CP Umar Farouk Idris, assures account holders of sustained Police cooperation with banks to secure their deposits against activities of fraudsters like Godwin Diavel.

“He enjoins other banks to place suspected persons on nationwide alert and promptly report them to Police for arrest and prosecution. He also advises account holders to protect their personal information and always destroy used deposit/withdrawal slips before leaving the bank.”

 

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