A 22-year-old undergraduate of the Nigeria Institute of Journalism (NIJ), Falope Oluwole, has taken his ingenuity to another level after he was nabbed by the Lagos State Police Command for impersonating a woman and defrauding 33 men of millions of Naira.
Punch reports that the 100-level part-time student of the institute had posed as a female makeup artist based in the United States of America, Shayla, on his Instagram page and reportedly duped the men who asked for a relationship.
The Waterloo for the suspect, according to the report, came when his cover was blown and operatives of the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) of the command, began monitoring his movements for some weeks and was trailed to a club in the Ikeja City Mall where he was arrested.
It was gathered that the suspect recently celebrated his birthday at a nightclub in the Lekki area of the state, where he reportedly splashed out over N500,000 on food and drinks.
A police source narrated that the suspect’s activities on Instagram were placed under investigations when the police received a complaint about an Instagram handle @blackberbiedoll, used for criminal activities, which was later traced to him.
Oluwole was also reported to have opened two other handles, @froshwhite007 and @froshwhite, separately on Instagram for the same purpose of defrauding randy men who wanted to have relationships.
One of Oluwole’s victims identified as Bernard, according to the police, said he got a friendship request from @blackberbiedoll, adding that he accepted it thinking that a female owned the account.
“Apparently, the picture on the account was that of a lady. The lady in question messaged me on BBM. Honestly, I thought I was chatting with a woman who claimed to be in Nigeria at the time.
She lied to me that her father was a Nigerian and her mum, a Kenyan. At a point, she lied that she was building a beauty outfit in the Ikota Shopping Mall, VGC and that she needed some money to complete the mall.
I had to transfer N1m to her. Weeks later, I got suspicious of the account name, Oluwole Israel Oluwaseun Falope. I ran a search on Google and that was when I discovered it was a scam,” Bernard told the police.
Another victim also said he paid N100,000 into Oluwole’s account ‘to support her fashion outfit.’
In his confessional statement to the police, Oluwole said he started the elaborate fraud scheme in 2014, and that he had duped over 33 men since then, adding that the least amount he received from his victims was N80,000.
“When I started, much as I pretended to be a lady on the phone, some men didn’t believe me. I then downloaded an application on Google store, which transformed my voice into that of a lady whenever I had a conversation.
I got several pictures of Shayla, a pretty US lady, on my profile. Since then, men started disturbing me and calling to request a date.
What I do is to assess people based on their appearance on Instagram. I add them and thereafter open up conversations with them before I bring up all kinds of stories to dupe them.
At a point, I lied to most of them that I had an accident and I lost my ATM card. I told them that I needed some money. Some of them were generous enough to send money to my account.
I even lied to them that I was putting up a boutique and salon at Ikota, VGC and Lekki, and that I needed money.”
Police investigations also revealed that the real owner of the pictures had complained to Instagram that some Nigerians were using her photos to scam unsuspecting members of the public.
It was also gathered that suspect claimed to be a friend of Toke Makinwa, Tonto Dike, Don Jazzy, Peter Okoye, and many other top celebrities.
Items recovered from the suspect included one iPhone 6, one Samsung Galaxy A5, one Apple tablet, hand and neck chains, some cash and a handbag.