Ponzi scheme operator nabbed over N571.6m fraud

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jail

A Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday remanded in Nigerian Correctional Services (NCOs) custody a suspected Ponzi scheme operator, Osita David Ikpah a.k.a King David, for allegedly defrauding depositors of N571,692,640.00.

Justice Abimbola Awogboro made the order following Ikpah’s arraignment by the Police Special Fraud Unit (PSFU) Ikoyi, Lagos, on a 26-count charge of conspiracy, obtaining by false pretence and fraud.

Ikpah’s co-defendant on the charge marked FHC/L/234c/2021 was his firm, KD Likeminds Stakeholders Ltd.

Prosecution counsel, Henry Obiazi, told the court that the defendant, his firm, and his unnamed accomplices, committed the offences between February and March 2021, at 4, Dikem Farm Close, Ishashi Road, Ojo, Lagos.

They were alleged to have between January and June 2021, operated as an unlicensed insurance or stockbroking company and without a valid Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) license.

The offences, according to the prosecutor, contravened Section 8(a) and 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006 as well as Section 58 (i) and 59 (6)(b) of the Banks and other Financial Institutions Act, 2004.

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Following the defendant’s plea, his counsel, S. C. Ukairo, prayed the court to admit Ikpah to bail “in the most liberal terms”, adding that credible sureties were available to stand for the defendant.

But in opposing the application, Obiazi contended that there was a likelihood of Ikpah jumping bail and continuing to defraud “innocent citizens.”

He argued further that by refusing the bail application, the court would be doing Ikpah “a great favour because most of the fraud victims are determined to lynch him if they set their eyes on him.”

Upon remanding the defendant, the judge adjourned till October 29 for ruling on the bail application and commencement of trial.

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