A Nigerian-led online scam network was busted with the arrest of its three members by the Philippine National Police (PNP) during operations in Las Piñas City on Tuesday.
PNP chief Gen. Debold Sinas, in a statement on Wednesday, identified the suspects as Evans Amara Okeke, 26, and Chidibierre Junior Ezema, 26 of Nigeria; and a Filipina, Judy Ann A. Japitana, 23.
According to the report of the PNP’s Cyber Financial Crime Unit (CFCU), Okeke posed as “Michael Gerald” in social media and befriended victim Ellen Briones, 64, a resident of Quezon City.
The two eventually had a relationship and the Nigerian national cajoled her into sheeling out some P3.23 million in cash.
Okeke, police said, pretended to be traveling to the Philippines soon to construct a mall somewhere in San Fernando, La Union.
Fortunately, Briones found out that the suspect was a fraud prompting her to immediately report the matter to the authorities who arranged for Okeke’s arrest and his other companions.
A search warrant for violation of Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code (swindling/estafa) in relation to Section 5(a) and (b) and Section 6 of Republic Act 10175 also known as “Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012” was served to the suspects’ residence at Room 3, No. 47 Kasoy St. in Verdant Acre Subdivision, Las Piñas City.
Sinas said the suspects are under the custody of CFCU at PNP Anti-Cybercrime Group Custodial Facility at Camp Crame, Quezon City for documentation and filing of appropriate charges.
“Our cybercops are going after perpetrators of online fraud and scams and will arrest cyber criminals who are involved in online illegal activities that may cause harm, confusion, and panic among our people,” Sinas said.