Police smash banks' cheque forgery syndicate

By The Citizen

Three persons who specialised in stealing bank customers cheques with which they withdraw money through alleged connivance of some banks staff have been arrested by the operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, Ikeja, Lagos.

According to a Police source, items recovered from the suspects were two dud cheques, fake letter heads of the Ekiti State House of Assembly and that of the state's Ministry of Finance and Economic Development which they allegedly intended to use to procure United Kingdom visa.

The source said that the suspects' modus operandi, as gathered, included visiting banks around Lagos pretending to be transacting one business or another.

'They would be on the lookout for any customer who is careless with his cheque book with the aim of stealing such. At other times, they would search waste baskets in the banks for unused cheque leaves like those discarded by the owners due to one error or another.

'Thereafter, take the cheque leaflets to insiders in the bank who, after ascertaining the amount in the account, pay the impostor, using the cheque as valid instrument.

'But luck, however, ran out on the trio of Kola Ademola, Oyedepo Adesola and Kola Osho as they were arrested last week in pipeline area of Abule-Egba following a tip-off,' the source said.

The Police source stated that the thirty three-year-old Ademola, a graduate of Business Administration and son of a retired soldier, admitted that he has been in the shady business for a while.

According to the father of two, 'I am an educational consultant. I enroll students for final year examinations and extra moral classes and I also do tutorials for them. I met one Samson at Obalende who introduced me to the business. He gave me the dud cheques I was arrested with.

'The blank cheques are usually brought to us by our boys. They are not fake but original. What we do after our boys bring them, is to deliver them to insiders in banks who work on them and bring the cash. We pay them at the end of the each transaction, depending on the amount in the account.

'But the present cash-less policy is affecting us because we now deal under mandate. By that, I mean we can only withdraw less than N100,000 which would not require the presence of signatories or confirmation.

'This is the third time I brought a cheque to Mr. Osho. But he said he does not have any insider in the particular bank.

'When I took the first one to him, he told me there was no money in the account and the second cheque was also not successful.

'This is double calamity because we have not made any money from these cheques. As if that is not enough, the dud cheques have landed us in police net' said the Ikire, Osun State-born suspect.