Cropped Cropped Freshhope Logo 2.jpg

Four busted by EOCO over sophisticated mobile money and sim swap fraud

Momo Logo

The Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO) has arrested four people allegedly involved in a “sophisticated mobile money and sim swap fraud scheme.”  EOCO has put the four accused, including a female, before an Accra Circuit Court for their actions, which have led to the loss of GHC113,947.57 cedis belonging to one of Ghana’s largest banks.

The accused are Richmond Donkor alias Chino, Celicia Asabere, Salifu Eshum, and Daniel Asomani Baawiah.  They have been charged with conspiracy to steal.  Donkor, the first accused, is facing additional charges of stealing and altering forged documents (ECOWAS Identity Card).

Asabere and Eshum are jointly facing charges of abetment of stealing.  Eshum is also being charged for altering a forged document, notably the ECOWAS ID card.  The accused persons pleaded guilty with an explanation.  The court presided over Mr Isaac Addo upon hearing their respective explanations, and entered a plea of not guilty on their behalf.

The prosecution, led by Mr Abu Issa of EOCO, asked the court to remand them so that EOCO could complete its investigations by arresting one Derrick Obeng, who is considered to be the mastermind of the crime.

The prosecution argued that remanding the accused would prevent them from interfering with the investigation.

Mr Divine Effah Carrey, counsel for Donkor, the first accused person, sought bail for his client, claiming that Donkor was gainfully employed and had a fixed place of abode.

Donkor’s charges, according to his defence counsel, were bailable.

The court after listening to submissions from the prosecution and defence counsel, exercised its discretion in favour of the prosecution.

It remanded the accused persons based on the gravity of the offence and to prevent further interference.

The accused persons are expected to reappear on March 27, 2024.

The prosecution argued that on February 14, 2024, the EOCO received complaints from a bank that an amount of GHC113,947,57 had been stolen from six of its customers’ bank accounts through a sophisticated mobile money and sim swap fraud scheme.

According to the prosecution, the individuals suspected of running the mobile money and sim exchange fraud were arrested by police in Kasoa on March 2, 2024, following a tip.

The prosecutor told the court that preliminary investigations revealed that the accused persons operated in such a way that, with the assistance of some unscrupulous individuals within Vodafone, AT (Airtel Tigo), and the bank in question, mobile phone numbers associated with specific bank accounts were swapped without the knowledge of the actual account holders.

It stated that swapping allowed the accused to take control of the account holders’ banking channels (mobile application and USSD), allowing them to move funds from the victims’ accounts to various bank accounts and mobile money accounts.

According to preliminary investigations, Donkor and Asabere altered the same EOCWAS ID Card GHA 001091841-0 in the name of one William Agyei Kwarteng.

They then used the altered ID card to swap the phone number attributed to the bank account number 2030200665017 belonging to William Agyei Kwarteng and transferred a total of GHC33,850 from the said account to bank account numbers 2030438618518 and 2100438618512 belonging to Asabere.

The prosecution said Asabere withdrew the funds immediately after the accounts were credited.

It said that Donkor and Eshum also sent GHC5,000 to Vodafone cash number 050933002, which belonged to Eshum’s brother, Razak Salifu.

The prosecution said the bank account numbers, 140017171276519 and 2030171276510 belonging to one Comfort Asamoah -Adu were also taken over, resulting in a total transfer of GHC10,341.2 from those accounts to MTN mobile number 0535385917 belonging to Eshum.

Additionally, the bank account number 2030171273319 belonging to one Patrick Kwadwo Yeboah was also taken over and an amount of GHC10,000 was transferred to mobile phone number 0535385917 belonging to Eshum.

Finally, the prosecution said preliminary investigations indicated that in an elaborate social engineering scheme, Bawiah attempted to steal an unspecified amount of money belonging to one Muhibatu Abdul- Bassit through her AT (Airtel Tigo) cash number 0267029019.

Source: GNA

Leave a Reply

Verified by MonsterInsights