How we swindle prospective tenants-suspects

VANGUARD Newspaper- Evelyn Usman

Are you looking for accommodation in any part of Lagos, or beyond, then you have to be very careful because some unscrupulous individuals have devised a new method of extorting desperate accommodation seekers .
This revelation, followed the latest arrest of three men whose ages are between 55 and 57 years , by operatives of the Special Fraud Unit, Milverton , Ikoyi Lagos.

A look at these men will never give any first time client the slightest inkling that they are not genuine landlords and estate agents, judging by their ages.

Surprisingly, they were discovered to have swindled unsuspecting persons of several Millions.

In this interview with Crime Guard, they revealed their modus operandi, disclosing further how they disguised themselves as older men apparently to deceive their preys. They also stated how they usually advertised property in national dailies , to further convince their targets and how they pose as landlords of property they knew nothing about, until the bubble burst .

Preliminary investigation also revealed that they have at several times given fictitious names to prospective tenants who they usually meet at designated points other than their real apartments.

57 year -old Dele Adebayo , a resident of 6, Oke-Arin street , Fadeyi, is popularly known as Gbadamosi Ladipo. Although Adebayo who hails from Ijeru in Ekiti state, claimed to have been a genuine estate agent for years but claimed he was lured into the dubious act following what he described as financial constraints particularly in the area of paying his children’s school fees.

According to him, “ I was lured into this by one Ojo. He told me I would make better money rather than the peanuts we got as agent fee. I agreed because I needed to get money to pay my children school fees in the higher institutions. That was how I started about a year and six months ago.

“I usually placed advert in national dailies where people come for the advertised property. So in September 2009, I got a call on my phone where one Mr Alozie said he was interested in the advertised apartment. I then linked him with another person who took him to inspect the property located at number 3, Ojo Oniyun close, Magodo.

After expressing satisfaction, he paid N1 Million bank draft and N400,000 cash. But before then, he said he would like to see the landlord and I introduced him to Babatunde Oshinusi who posed a s the landlord.

How we shared the money

When the N400,000 cash was paid, it was shared among those of us that participated. I got twenty percent of the total amount but we were unable to withdraw the N1 Million bank draft before the man got to know we were not genuine”
Adebayo as gathered was arrested by the unit for similar case two years ago. Asked why he still went back to the illicit act, he claimed he was only implicated then but vowed to turn a new leaf if he was let off the hook.

Sitting next to him was his partner in crime, Babtunde Oshinusi, who posed as landlord of the property. 56 year-old Oshinusi who hails from Ijebu -Ode in Ogun state, admitted that when he was contacted in respect of the building , he was aware that it was not a genuine business. But like his partner, he said he was tempted by the money involved.

Hear him, “ It was Dele that intorduced me into this. He said all I needed to do was to claim to be landlord of the said building. I only know the address but have never been there . He said I would be paid the sum of four hundred thousand naira. I accepted because of the amount involved.

That was how Alozie , a prospective tenant was brought to me in September last year. But when he paid the N400,000 cash, we decided to share it among ourselves first, pending when we would cash the band draft.

Honestly, this is my first time of doing a thing like this. I have never done it before in my life. And I regret ever accepting to do it because as it is now, I did not get the promised four hundred thousand. I only got forty thousand naira which is ten percent of the cash payment. And my greatest regret is that I did not use the money for any reasonable thing, I only spent it on food”, he stated remorsefully.

But the case of Ajayi Olusayo was a peculiar one as two of his victims appeared when they got wind of his arrest. Preliminary investigation as gathered, revealed that 55-year-old Olusayo, an indegene of Ile-Ife, Osun state, had a case pending at the State Criminal Investigation Department(SCID), Panti, over a similar issue.

Like Babatunde Oshinusi, he claimed he was instructed by one Solomon Jack to act as a landlord of a property they advertised in a national daily. A total sum of N6.2 Million was said to have been paid by four unsuspecting members of the public for the property located in Ikeja area of Lagos. But Ajayi claimed he partook of only two.

Two of the victims who trooped to SFU on hearing about his arrest, were shocked to find out that he had given them different names . He identified himself to one of the female victims as Olukayode Abisarin and to the other female, a retired staff of the National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control(NAFDAC) as Samuel Osho.

Explaining how she was swindled, the retired NAFDAC staff who identified herself as Mrs Nkanor said: “ On Monday April 6, 2009, I saw an advert “to let” in on e o ft he popular national dailies(names withheld ) for a three bedroom flat at Ilepeju. I then called on the agent one Akinremi Damilade on his phone number 08096757290.

He thereafter, directed me to one Wale whom he claimed to be the agent, to take me to access the flat. I liked it and took my son down who also liked it. We were thereafter, taken to the landlord’s house at 5B Abimbola Okunuga Cresent , Ikeja, on Easter Monday . During discussion, he said the building which was near completion would be ready by May 1. Based on this assurance I wrote a UBA cheque of one million naira in favour of the landlord on the 13th of April and he confirmed he cashed the money the next day being 14th.

But on 15th, the landlord again rang me and fixed an appointment for a joint inspection of the flat on Sunday 19th at about 3pm . Since we were closer to the flat, my son and I decided to go ahead and see the flat, where to our surprise, after inspection, we were accosted by a man who claimed d to be the legitimate owner of the building . On hearing I had paid for it, he advised me to lodge the complaint to the police so that my money could be recovered.

I was heart broken when I heard this because that was my pension money . I was duped of my labour of several years”, she lamented

On her part, the second victim, also a woman who works in one of the second generation banks,(names withheld) claimed this same Ajayi Olusayo took her to an apartment in Akowonjo area of Lagos where all transaction was made.

But to her dismay, she said after paying the sum of N1.4 Million , she realised on reaching the property that it did not belong to Ajayi Olusayo..

“ Immediately I realised I have been duped, I called him on the phone to inform him of the new development but he said that was impossible and asked me to come and meet him at Ilupeju branch of Zenith bank. I took some policemen there with the hope that I would see him but he was not there . I went back to his apartment at Akowonjo only to discover there was no body there. That was in September last year.

The money I used to pay for the rent was borrowed from the bank. Because of the debt, I had to sell my car in order to get another apartment because we were given quit notice.

Since then , I have tried all I could to get him but to no avail until January this year when I was standing at the bus-stop at Herbert Marculey and sighted him. At first I thought he was not the one because on the day I met him, he disguised himself as an older man, claiming he was over seventy years. I did not know the next step to take.

Immediately he sighted me, he jumped into a moving bus and I jumped in with him , without raising an alarm because i did not know if he was with other members of his gang.

Luckily for me, the bus driver took through Sabo area and when we got close to the police station i asked the driver to stop but he did not , for fear that he would be arrested by the policemen. I then held baba by his trouser and dragged him down before raising an alarm. He dealt me with several blows denying he never knew me. But for the timely intervention of the policemen he would have succeeded in loosening my grips”

Asked how much he got from the money so far, Mr Olusayo said, “ I got twenty percent of every money we got. The money was shared between six of us. Unfortunately for me, others are on the run. I regret taking part in this because it has brought shame to my family, particularly my children”. Asked when he started it, he stated, “ I started in 2006. But so far, I have only succeeded twice”.

Commissioner of Police in-charge of the unit, Mr Saba Ndagi , said the men had been on their wanted list following complaints by some victims


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