U.S. Arrests Eight Over Cyber Crime

Eight people including two Nigerians have been arrested for their alleged roles in an Africa-based cyber conspiracy that U.S. law enforcement officials say defrauded companies and citizens of millions of dollars.

The arrests were made as part of the department’s efforts to fight schemes to intercept wire transfers from businesses and individuals.

“The defendants allegedly unleashed a barrage of international fraud schemes that targeted US businesses and individuals, robbing them to the tune of approximately 15 million dollars,” said Acting Assistant Attorney-General John Cronan.

Five of the defendants – a Mexican, two Americans, a Ghanaian and a Nigerian – were arrested in the U.S., the Justice Department said. The other three – two Ghanaians and a Nigerian – were arrested outside the U.S. and were being held pending extradition.

The indictments are part of Operation Keyboard Warrior, a recently announced effort coordinated by the U.S. and international law enforcement to disrupt online frauds perpetrated from Africa.

The Africa-based co-conspirators committed a series of intrusions into the servers and email systems of a Memphis-based real estate company in 2017, according to the indictment.

The defendants were able to use spoofed email addresses and other anonymisation techniques to identified large financial transactions and initiated fraudulent email correspondence with relevant business parties.

They then redirected closing funds for real estate transactions to destinations in Africa.

The indictment includes charges related to wire fraud, money laundering, computer fraud and identity fraud.

Some of the Africa-based defendants are also charged with operating romance scams, fraudulent-check scams, gold-buying scams and credit card scams.

The Media As The Final Hope Of Wrongly Accused Suspects Paraded By The Nigerian Police By Banjo Damilola

Those that were arrested with him got released but he did not have the money so he remained in custody. He was paraded, shabbily prosecuted and for the warped judicial system we have, he was sentenced to life imprisonment. He ended up in Kirikiri Prison before LEDAP, an advocacy NGO, got an appeal court to upturn the earlier judgment and acquit him, after 16 long years. His childhood, gone! His youthful years, wasted! All because he could not pay the bail ransom.

I grew up watching crime fighters, a television programme that shows people who had been arrested by the police for different alleged criminal offenses. For some of these people, what they purportedly stole were so ridiculous; Tin Tomatoes, Instant Noodles and similar food items.

Every Saturday, my brothers and I would watch as these people are being paraded and we would always pass comments. “This one is even lazy. He stole noodles. Ordinary noodles”. We would even joked that they should be tried by Sharia Law which meant that their hands should be amputated so that they would not steal again. Innocently, we had concluded that those suspects were indeed criminals. How could they not be? The police had caught them and they were showing them on the television. They must be criminals!

Three years ago, I became part of those who fed similar content to people in their various homes, including impressionable children like I was some years back. June 2016, I was sent to cover a police press briefing at the command in Ikeja. It was my first assignment covering police press briefing. The police had made some arrests and wanted to show off. On that day, it was an alleged notorious kidnap kingpin, Felix, who had been caught. Felix and supposed members of his kidnapping gang had been evading arrest which meant their eventual arrest seem a thing to celebrate and used as Public Relations for the dented image of the Nigeria Police.

I was at the suspect parade exercise and the green horn I was latched on to the event. I mean, bad news sells and this was as bad as it could get in reporting crimes in the city of Lagos. It was ‘good’ story for me as a young journalist and I didn’t think of it as PR for the police. I was simply happy to write the story of this notorious kidnapper who had just been arrested and would be “sent to court after investigation was concluded”, according to the then Lagos state Commissioner of Police.

What happened to Felix’ case? I did not follow up to know. I was new at the job and I’ve just been introduced to one of the ways to get content for my medium. I didn’t know I was supposed to follow up on the case, so I didn’t bother.

However, with the years came experience. I became wiser and more circumspect of this illegal activity. I follow up on the paraded suspects as much as I could. When Evans the alleged kidnapper was paraded, I followed up and still following up. But it took a sad story of a young boy whose life was destroyed by the police to come to the awakening that the Nigerian Police cannot be trusted and specifically, that not all those paraded as criminals are indeed criminals. Some of them are just poor people who could not pay for bail— which is supposed to be free.

Last year, I did a story of an eighteen year old boy who was arrested by the police on his way from football field and went from football enthusiast to a murderer. His parents could not pay the ransom they were demanding for his bail. Those that were arrested with him got released but he did not have the money so he remained in custody. He was paraded, shabbily prosecuted and for the warped judicial system we have, he was sentenced to life imprisonment. He ended up in Kirikiri Prison before LEDAP, an advocacy NGO, got an appeal court to up turn the earlier judgment and acquit him, after 16 long years. His childhood, gone! His youthful years, wasted! All because he could not pay the bail ransom.

One thing has become obvious, this ignoble act of the police keeps festering because the media have become an enabler in legitimizing and stamping mere suspects as criminals. The press are always quick to blast the affirmative headlines? ‘Police nabs two notorious cultists in Ikorodu’, the headlines would scream after these parades.

During these parades, the CP is left to feel like an island of knowledge. The questions are regulated by ‘crime reporters’. As a newbie in the fold, you’re told questions not to ask so you don’t ‘embarrass’ yourself but in actual sense what they want to avoid is the newbie asking questions that would put the CP in bad light or make him actually think of his actions as the leader of a group entrusted with the safety of a state.

I was once called a ‘baby journalist’ by an old reporter who felt I have not blended well because I asked the question that the veteran ‘crime reporters’ would ordinarily not ask. I had used a video of the question on my platform and it went viral because it was the question that the people would love for the CP to answer.

The pockets of press associations on different beats are many of the time, the organs used to surpass press freedom. As new journalist to a beat, the association would not readily accept you in. They don’t want an outsider poking into their business. Crime reporters are the worse! We— journalists— talk about them in hush voices and in quiet fora where we know no one would judge us.

Recently, I was in a training that had reporters from across the country and the comments about crime reporters was nothing but awful. Second to them are those at the National Assembly, safe for one or two reporters who would not conform, these ones are not even considered  ‘bonafide’ National Assembly correspondents because they would report things the association have been paid to kill. I covered the judiciary for a while and it was the same thing. The association never allowed me in… Bunch of story killers, they are!

In a society like Nigeria where the judiciary is encumbered with so many technicalities and delay, the media is the last hope of the masses. The media should be the place where the masses know that their matters would be brought to the fore and by that instance gain the needed attention but if we keep pushing the narratives of the oppressors, where lies the hope of Jimoh, a 26 year old transport worker who was labeled a criminal and shown to the world as one?

If we must report the charade called ‘suspect parade’ then as journalists, we must tell all the stories. In fact, we should elevate the story of those suspects who would not keep quiet even when their integrity has been soiled by men of the Nigerian Police. We should put our cameras on them and let the world hear them defend themselves against the CP’s accusations. We should follow up on their stories; were they charged to court or held at ransom to be set free? Were they diligently prosecuted and their case thrown out because the IPO would not show up in court. Were they found guilty or acquitted of the offenses they were paraded for? And when we gather these information, do we just say “eeeyah, poor man” and move on or we also report the events after the illegal parade?

The media need to act with the interest of the masses at heart because that is public interest.

Banjo writes from Lagos and can be reached on Twitter; @RealBanjo or email: [email protected] 

15-Year-Old Nigerian Boy Stabbed To Death

A 15-year-old Nigerian boy identified Jordan Gbolade Jaiyeola, was stabbed to death in a fight after a birthday party at a community centre in east London. Reports further revealed that three teenage boys have been arrested on suspicion of murder and have been taken to separate police stations for questioning.

The teenage rapper known locally as Jordan Douherty, was found with knife wounds and died at the scene. The Met Police said they were called to the centre in Romford on Saturday night after fighting broke out after up to 100 youths mobbed the event.

Jordan is the youngest victim to be fatally stabbed in London this year. More than 80 murder investigations have now been launched across London this year alone.

The aspiring rap star appeared in a number of YouTube videos with the group C17 under the alias Young Valenti. Their lyrics reference gang and knife violence, rapping about using “skengs” and “shanks” (knives) to “dip” and “splash” (stab) their “opps” (gang rivals), the Sun reports.

A witness who gave her name only as Carol said:-

“it was chaos out here last night” and described hearing friends of the victim screaming and sobbing. She told the Press Association: “Around 9.20pm I heard a lot of noise going on. For some reason it didn’t sound right. It was mostly black boys out there. “Then I heard a lad crying down the phone ‘he’s dead, he’s dead’. “He was lying down in the road, there was a lot of blood. The police were working on him, they tried their absolute damnedest with that boy last night.”

Another teenager, who saw the aftermath of the attack and gave her name only as Ellie, added:- “There was a big group on the corner with just the boy on the floor. “There were paramedics doing shocks and CPR on him for quite a while. The best part of an hour. After, he was just laying there with a white sheet over him, it was covered in blood.”

Jordan is the youngest victim to be fatally stabbed in London this year. More than 80 murder investigations have now been launched across London this year alone.

The Sun reported that the aspiring rap star appeared in a number of YouTube videos with the group C17 under the alias Young Valenti. Their lyrics reference gang and knife violence, rapping about using “skengs” and “shanks” (knives) to “dip” and “splash” (stab) their “opps” (gang rivals).

Fake World Cup Trophies Used To Smuggle Drugs Discovered

Four men and two women have been arrested by Argentine authorities with marijuana and cocaine inside fake World Cup trophies.

Authorities carried out a raid on Friday in Isidro Casanova in La Matanza Partido, Greater Buenos Aires, where they discovered 20 kilos of marijuana, 10 kilos of cocaine, 1,800 doses of crack-cocaine hidden within the replicas.

The Officers also seized two firearms, a couple of vehicles, and 400,000 Argentine pesos $14,819 during the raid. The authorities said the alleged drug trafficking ring named  “Narcos de la Copa” attempted to cash in on the 2018 World Cup by taking advantage of the global merchandising boom to move the drug outside the country without raising suspicions.

In a statement by Buenos Aires Security MinisterCristian Ritondo, he confirmed the suspects have been jailed.

“These merchants of death have endless ingenuity, but don’t be fooled. They shouldn’t be admired. On the contrary . . . they are now in jail,”

Three Nursing Mothers, Two Men Bag Six Months Imprisonment For Stealing Fowls

By Mariam Bello

An Osun State magistrate court in Osogbo on Tuesday sentenced three nursing mothers and two men to six months imprisonment for stealing.

The suspects include  Regina Philip, 40, celilia Ochili, 25, Ankara Elisabeth, 30, Odebiyi Yinka, 20, and Ayoola Samson.

The prosecutor, Inspector Adegoke Taiwo told the court that the five convicts conspired among themselves to commit felony to wit stealing on July 5, 2016  at Erin Osun.

He explained further that Odebiyi Yinka and Ayoola Samson stole 1600 fowls valued N3.2 million property of Pastor Mrs Aluko Titilayo Farms in Erin Osun area of the state.

He stressed that the three breastfeeding mothers received 5800 fowls from Samson Ayooola and Odebiyi Yinka  knowing fully that it was stolen.

Inspector Adegoke Taiwo argued that the offence contravenes sections 516 and 383, punishable under sections 390(9) and 427 of the criminal code cap 34 volume 11 laws of Osun State of Nigeria 2003.

The defence counsel, Mrs B. Y. Dada prayed the court to temper justice with mercy saying the convicts has been able to pay N200,000 to the complainant.

She also begged the court to consider the breastfeeding mothers adding that they have been coming from the prison custody where they were remanded.

The magistrate, Mrs Awodele Modupe while delivering the final judgment sentenced all the convits to six calender months imprisonment with an option of N10,000 fine each.

 

20-Year-old Boy Pleads Guilty Of Stealing, Remanded

By David Adejuwon

A 20-year-old Wahab Shaiban has been remanded in Ilesha prison custody over alleged shop breaking.

The accused was arraigned before Magistrate O.A Oloyade on two count charges bothering on shop breaking and stealing.

Police prosecutor, Inspector Olayiwola Rasaq told the court that the accused person committed the offence on the June 8, 2018 at No2, Oke-Ola Street, Osogbo.

He said the accused person and others at large committed felony by breaking into the shop of one Quadir Lukman and stole four 2000 watt stabilizer valued N48,000, 15 complete conoil’s valued N45,000, three blenders valued N16,000, 12 fans valued N12,000, 2 horse fan heads valued N20,000, wires valued N10,000 and 4 ceiling fans valued at N20,000, all properties totalling N130,500.

Inspector Rasaq said the offence committed is contrary to and punishable under section 516 of the criminal code Cap 34 Vol. II Laws of Osun State of Nigeria 2003.

The accused pleaded guilty to the two count charges against him.

The Presiding Magistrate asked for facts of the matter but the prosecutor said he has not gathered enough facts.

Magistrate Oloyade ordered the accused person to be remanded in Ilesha Prison custody and adjourned the case till June 28, 2018 for facts and ruling on the matter.

Police Arrest 4 Suspected Internet Fraudsters In Ile Ife

By Sodiq Lawal

The Police Division at Moore in Ile Ife have arrested four suspected Internet fraudsters popularly known as “Yahoo Yahoo” for offenses bordering on obtaining by false pretence and lottery scam.

The suspects are Olamilekan Olarewaju, Akanmu Seun, Bamidele Tunde and Omojola Tope.

The Area “A” Commamda of the Division, Funsho Adegboye said the suspects were arrested on Thursday at Ojoyin area in Ile Ife.

They were alleged of living a flamboyant life without a legitimate source of income.

The Commander said that items recovered from the suspects are laptops, phones, sim cards and charms

Parents Arrested For Abusing Their 13 Children For Years In California

California parents David and Louise Turpin, who abused their 13 children and kept them in isolation have been arrested and charged to court after one of their children escaped and called 911 early on January 14.

According to reports from PEOPLE, the children aged between 2-29 years.  The audio of the teen’s 911 call was released for the first time on Wednesday morning, June 20, at a preliminary court hearing for the Turpin parents in Riverside County, California. In court, it was revealed that the children were allowed to bath only once a year and weren’t allowed to go to school. They were also starved, chained, and made to live in filth.

In the small voice of a much younger child, reading from a piece of paper with her family’s address on it, the 17-year-old daughter of David and Louise Turpin called 911 early on Jan. 14 to report that they were allegedly abusing and chaining up their children.

David and Louise’s have been arrest on numerous charges of abuse, false imprisonment and torture, among other counts.

“I live in a family of 15 people and our parents are abusive,” the girl told the 911 operator while she was outside her family’s suburban Perris home, according to audio of the call that was played in court.

Louise was seen crying as she listened to it on Wednesday.

“They are abusive,” the girl said. “And two of my sisters are chained up.”

The girl’s sisters and one of her brothers were all chained to their beds, she said on the call, answering the dispatcher’s questions.

“Our parents don’t let us move out,” the girl said. “Some of us have asked for jobs and they said that would never happen.”

Though she spoke in detail about life behind closed-doors in the Turpin family, the girl seemed at a loss to answer basic questions about the wider world, such as where she lived. Instead she read her address from the piece of paper she carried with her.

“I haven’t been out. I don’t go out much,” the girl said. “I don’t know anything about the streets or anything.”

“I don’t know what medication is,” she said at one point, noting, “We don’t really do schools. I haven’t finished first grade and I am 17.”

The teen said the siblings lived in essential isolation, visited only by their grandparents. “The rest of the family, we don’t know them,” she said.

Of the alleged abuse they suffered, she told 911 her parents “only chain us up if we do something we are not supposed to. I have never done anything I am not supposed to.”

David and Louise Turpin each face 12 counts of torture as well as seven counts of abuse of a dependent adult, nine counts of child abuse or neglect and 12 counts of false imprisonment.

David is additionally accused of a lewd act against a child and perjury, for allegedly lying about his children’s schooling. Louise has been charged with felony assault.

They remain in custody in lieu of $12 million bail each after pleading not guilty to all of their charges. One of their attorneys has publicly noted that both are presumed innocent until convicted. Beyond that, the defense has not commented specifically on the case to PEOPLE.

The Turpins were arrested on Jan. 14 not long after their 17-year-old daughter escaped their home and used a disconnected cell phone to call 911 to report the alleged abuse and captivity, authorities have said.

When responding officers entered their Perris home, they allegedly found a horrendous scene of malnutrition and squalor, with some of the children shackled to their beds.

“We live in filth,” the Turpins’ 17-year-old daughter told 911, according to audio played in court on Wednesday. “Sometimes I wake up and can’t breathe because of how dirty the house is.”

Prosecutors allege the Turpins denied their kids food and only allowed them to take one shower a year. Most of the siblings, who were ages 2 to 29 at the time of their parents’ arrest, were unfamiliar with how to use a toothbrush.

“They [the 13 children] lack a basic knowledge of life,” Riverside County District Attorney Michael Hestrin told reporters in January. “Many of the children didn’t know what a police officer was.”

The girl told 911 in January she could not remember the last time she bathed herself but that it was “almost a year ago,” according to the call audio played Wednesday.

“Sometimes I feel so dirty I wash my face and I wash my hair in the sink,” she said.

Investigators who spoke with the teen later on Jan. 14 noted her “unwashed” appearance and behavior befitting “someone a lot younger than 17,” according to Riverside County Sheriff’s Deputy Manuel Campos, who testified at Wednesday’s hearing.

Dressed in a pink hat, blue jeans and white shoes, the girl “had an odor emitting from her body of someone who didn’t bathe regularly,” Campos said.

“Her speech seemed to be a lot younger — the speech of a child,” he said. “She did have trouble pronouncing words [and] referred to her parents as mother and father. She said she was taught to address them that way because it was more like the Bible days.”

Leaving her family’s home to summon authorities was terrifying, she said, according to Campos. It was “one of the scariest things she had ever done.”

 

Radical Cleric Sentenced To Death

Radical cleric Aman Abdurrahman has been sentenced by an Indonesian court on Friday for inciting Islamic State-influenced militants to carry out terrorist attacks, including a deadly 2016 attack in the heart of Indonesia’s capital.

Abdurrahman immediately got down on his knees and lay down on the ground upon hearing the verdict read out by presiding judge Ahmad Zaini in the South Jakarta district court.

“The defendant did not have to directly order but he could convey his messages through his commandos.

“He only needed to provide his reasons so that his followers were convinced to carry out his orders,’’ Zaini said.

Four bystanders and four militants were killed in the 2016 Jakarta attack, which involved one suicide bomber outside a Starbucks cafe and an ensuing gunfight with police.

Police say Abdurrahman is a leader of Jemaah Ansyarud Daulah, whose members are accused of staging suicide bombings on three churches and a police headquarters last month in the city of Surabaya.

The attacks in Surabaya killed 18 people, including 10 suicide bombers from two families.

The panel of judges said Abudurrahman was also guilty of taking part in two terror attacks in 2016 and three others in 2017.

“There was nothing that exonerated him,’’ they said.

Abdurrahman had previously been sentenced to nine years in prison on charges related to a militant training camp in Aceh province.

Man Docked Over Alleged Assault

By Mariam Bello

The Osun State police command has arraigned a 37-year-old Osuolale Taofeek before an Osogbo magistrate court for alleged Assault. 

Taofeek, who was docked on single count charge of assault, pleaded not guilty to the charge against him.

The prosecutor Inspector Jafani Muslim said the defendant committed the alleged crime on June 5, 2018 at about 5.30pm at Old Garage area of Osogbo.

He explained to the court that the accused assaulted one Mr Ajagbe Kamorudeen by beating him up and torn his cloth.

Inspector Jafani submitted that the offence is contrary to section 360 of the criminal code cap 34 volume 11.laws of Osun State 2003.

The defence counsel, Mr. A. B Jinad prayed the court to grant the accused person bail in the most liberal and affordable terms.

He added that the suspect would not jump bail if granted and is ready to provide credible surety to guarantee his readiness to stand trial.

Presiding Magistrate, Mrs A. O Ajanaku granted the defendant bail in the sum of N50,000 with one surety

She said surety must be a tax payer and resident in Osogbo.

The case was adjourned to July 5 for hearing.

Court Remands Man For Stealing Drum

By Mariam Bello

A 20-year-old man, Ayandare Shina, has been remand in Ilesha prison custody by an Osogbo magistrate court over stealing of rubber drum.

The accused person allegedly committed the offence on June 8, 2018  at about 10.00am at Ido Osun town in Osun state.

According to the charge sheet, the convict broke into  Omoyiola  Nur/Primary school,  Ido Osun with intent to commit felony.

The defendant allegedly stole one blue rubber drum worth N20,000 property of Mrs Fadehan Ruth

The offence is contrary to and punishable under section 390(9) of the criminal code cap 34 vol.II law of Osun.

Shina who is facing two count charges pleaded guilty to the charges preferred against him.

The defence counsel, Mr Okobe Najite applied for the bail of the accused person in the most liberal terms.

The Magistrate, Mr O.O Olona ordered the accused person to be remanded in Ilesha prison custody. The case was adjourned to June 22, for brief of fact on the matter.