The suspects were arrested by men attached to Area B Command of the police, Apapa, Lagos,
The suspects, who were paraded before journalists, Tuesday, are Lawrence Oduh, Emmanuel Amakre and Clinton Aladay.
According to spokesperson for Lagos State Police Command, Ngozi Braide, the suspects allegedly defrauded their victims to the tune of N75 million worth of petroleum products, using fake payment alerts.
She maintained that they floated three different companies – Hephziba Energy Resources Ltd, Deep Flank Energy Resources and Blue Moon Energy Resources Ltd – and opened accounts with various banks to through which the crime was committed.
“After bargaining the price with the dealers, they will issue cheques on the agreed sum, and in some cases the innocent victim receives alert from his bank indicating that money had been deposited in their account, before parting with their products,” she said.
Braide continued: “When they go to the bank to confirm if their accounts had been credited, they will realise that they had been defrauded.
“These suspects are on the wanted list of the State C.I.D, Yaba, Zone 11, Onikan, Lagos, Special Fraud Unit, Area E Command, Festac and the Area B Command for various fraud cases.
“They met their waterloo when detectives from the Area B Command got information that one of the suspects was trying to sell off a petroleum product to a buyer in Apapa. They swooped on him and he assisted the police in arresting others.
“Their victims at the mentioned police formations includes Nikky Best, who they allegedly defrauded of N5.2 million; Mrs. Ogini, N6 million; one Professor N9.6 million; Innocent Okonkwo N9.6 million; Pesue Temisanren, N4.7 million; Royal Oil, N2.9 million; Meta Oil and Gas N4 million; King Simon, N11 million; Jonathan, N5 million and many others.”
Investigations, according to her, were still on to ascertain the possible involvement of bank employees in the payment alert sent to victims.
But, one of the suspects, Clinton Aladay, 34, denied the allegation although he admitted owing some persons.
“I am an oil and gas marketer and what I had with these people was business and I agree that I am owing them. Some of them sold substandard products to me and the company I sold these products to have refused to pay me.
“I am not aware of the false bank alert the police is talking about and I didn’t issue dud cheque to anyone.
“The people I gave cheques that I knew I had no money in the account, I wrote to the bank asking them not to honor the cheque. I don’t see that as issuance of dud cheque.
“I accept the fact that I am indebted to these people that’s all,” he said.