Some criminals are so good at being bad that it boggles the mind! That was the case for Hope Olusegun Aroke, a Nigerian scammer. Although he was serving a 24-year sentence at a maximum-security prison since 2012, he managed to run and mastermind a scam that would collect at least $1 million in stolen money. As reported by the BBC, anti-corruption officials have said that he used a network of “accomplices” for his fraudulent crimes.
Nigerian Scammer Arrested: How He Ran a Crime Ring from Prison
Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was baffled. They received intelligence about Hope but had to figure out how it was possible anyone could run a sophisticated scheme from such a supervised prison.
The EFCC has now said that Hope, who was once a Malaysian student, did indeed continue his elaborate internet fraud, by scheming. He did so by coordinating with those who worked with him as accomplices. Those accomplices committed fraud against others worldwide, in other nations.
Next, to access stolen funds, he used a fictitious name of Akinwunmi Sorinmade and opened two bank accounts. He also managed to purchase homes and luxury cars!
How Did This Happen?
He had his wife’s bank account token, even while he was sentenced to prison. This allowed him the ability to transfer funds easily and quickly.
Hope was also given internet and phone access when he was taken to the Nigeria Police Hospital in Lagos. From there, he was allowed to leave the hospital facility and stay at hotels, which enabled him to see his children and also attend social events.
While anyone would want to do those activities, Hope was in prison for serious internet fraud. His 2012 sentence was for two counts of “obtaining money by false pretense”, “check cloning”, and “wire transfer and forgery”.
Some information is still unknown, such as whether or not Hope paid off prison officials to be given his freedom or what countries he targeted.
Don’t Let This Happen to You!
Have you ever been targeted or tricked by a Nigerian scammer? While reports about this Nigerian mastermind don’t specify if he used romance scams, one can only assume it is likely. Victims can avoid falling for cons by using Social Catfish to search anyone they connect with on or offline by name, email address, username, phone number, and reverse image lookup.
As you can see, criminals and fraudsters will use fictitious names and find ways to steal through their criminal friends. Don’t trust anyone you meet online until you verify their identity with Social Catfish. As always, never give money, send gift cards, or wire money to someone you meet online.