By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arrested a Ponzi scheme operator based in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
The suspect, a 62-year-old Umanah E. Umanah, was said to have promised a bogus offer of 50 per cent return on investment in just seven days for any investor who invests in his company known as No Burn Global Limited.
Some unsuspecting members of the public, who believed him and put their hard-earned money in his company, were surprised when he avoided communication with them and failed to fulfil what he promised them.
In a statement issued by the EFCC, it was stated that the Uyo Zonal Office of the anti-graft agency received over 70 petitions against the suspect from his victims and on July 1, 2020, following a petition by one of his victims, Mr Umanah was apprehended.
The petitioner claimed that the Ponzi scheme operator collected over N2.9 million from him and subsequently issued him a N500,000 cheque, which was dishonoured by the bank because the account was not funded.
The EFCC said its investigations reveal that the defendant runs an advance fee fraud syndicate in several states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory.
On Friday, October 16, 2020, he was arraigned before Justice Agatha Okeke of the Federal High Court, Uyo on count charges bordering on forgery, issuance of dud cheque and obtaining by false pretence.
“That you Umanah Ekaette Umanah on or about July 31, 2017, at Uyo, within the jurisdiction of this court, did make a forged document to wit: United Bank of Africa (UBA) cheque with cheque number: 73131308 of No Burn Global Stakeholders Multipurpose by appending your signature on the said cheque leaflet when not being a signatory to the account of No Burn Global Stakeholders Multipurpose, domiciled with UBA, knowing same to be false and with the intent that it may be acted upon as genuine and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1 (2) (c) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act Cap M17 of the Revised Edition ( Laws of the Federation of Nigeria) 2007 and punishable under Section 1 (2) of the same Act,” one of the charges read.
He pleaded not guilty to the charges upon which prosecution counsel, Adebayo Soares, asked the court for a commencement date of trial and for him to be remanded in the custody of the Nigeria Correctional Service, (NCS).