An eight member gang, including seven Nigerians, that cheated prospective second hand car buyers through online forums like OLX and Quickr has been arrested by the Bengaluru police. The gang allegedly posted pictures of high-end cars for sale at throwaway prices and collected advances from prospective buyers only to disappear when money was transferred to a temporary bank account.
In a joint operation involving the Bengaluru police, the state CID and cyber crime officials, seven Nigerian nationals who posed as sellers at online classified portals were arrested. The arrested have been identified as Chuka Okpala, Okjie Colling, Oja Lawal, Christian Obinna, Ehibhi Ehis, Bolaji Lawal Desmond, Averil Lawal and an Indian woman Indrani all aged between 24 to 36. According to the police the gang would display pictures of high-end cars valued at over Rs. 8 lakh and offer to sell it for Rs 2 lakh to Rs. 3 lakh. To do dispel doubts arising in the mind of the victims the gang had carefully crafted a plausible narrative.
“One of the gang member would pose as a seller and claim that he was out of the country on emergency and would pass the details of another gang member who in turn would pose as a custom official of Bengaluru International Airport. The fake custom officer would insist that the buyer transfer cash towards the parking fee and custom clearance before he inspects the vehicle. Once the cash of about Rs. 95,000 was transferred the gang’s phone would go off and the buyer would realize his mistake,” an investigating official said.
During the course of interrogation of the suspects the police have found that the gang had duped atleast 13 individuals over the last four months. One of the arrested Nigerians Bolaji Lawal was also involved in an attempt to murder a fellow Nigerian in Bengaluru in 2014, police said. The police are on now on the lookout for three others Joseph, Sofia Kom and Murlidhar who were involved in the online scam. The suspects have also told the police that they had created a fake charity trust in the name of United States President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle Obama to mobilize funds. Some of the arrested Nigerians have been found to have been over staying their business and education visas in the country, police said.