19-year-old convicted for capital market fraud

A 19-year-old man, Damilola Balogun, has been docked and convicted over a capital market fraud.

The Securities and Exchange Commission said in a notice on Tuesday that Balogun was arraigned on a one-count charge of impersonation contrary to Section 179 of the Penal Code Law, Chapter 89 before Magistrate Ibrahim Mohammed of Senior Magistrate Court Zone 6, Wuse, Abuja.

The notice said after the charge was read to Balogun, he admitted committing the offence, saying he used Afrinvest West Africa’s name and logo to lure unsuspecting Nigerians to invest with a 100 per cent return on investment within 45 minutes.

It said after the accused pleaded guilty to the charge, Magistrate Ibrahim Mohammed stated that since the defendant had confessed to the crime, there was no reason why he should not be convicted.

SEC said Balogun was, therefore, convicted under Section 179 of Penal code and sentenced to one-year imprisonment without an option on fine.

Afrinvest had in September written SEC to report an impersonation.

They alleged that the man used the name of the company and opened a WhatsApp group to lure investors to invest and get double dividends in 45 minutes.

According to ASP Abubakar Mandiya of the SEC Police Unit, the culprit opened a WhatsApp group with the name of the company and pretended to be the managing director of the company and promised the members double of what they invested within 45 minutes.

Mandiya said, “He operated two different accounts with two different names. The real name of the culprit is Balogun Tanko Damilola and he went ahead to open another online account with Olalekan Balogun in Ecobank.

“He used the Olalekan Balogun account to receive the fraudulent money. When the culprit was interviewed, he said that he was 19 years old and that he started the business in June 2019.”

Balogun said he raised about N30,000 in the account from about 15 investors.

He said, “This is because most of the investors pay in mostly one to two thousand naira only, except for one that invested N10,000. It is only after discussing with them and gaining their confidence that I now forward my account details for payment.

“What prompted me to start the business was an advert that I saw on Facebook and I decided to copy. The advert is about investing and getting double payment. I only picked the name Afrinvest because I know that it is an investment company when I saw it on media. I copied and pasted the name and started using it for my business.”

The acting Director-General, SEC, Ms Mary Uduk, urged investors to be wary of any investment proposing a return level that was unreasonably high.

She advised members of the public to always ascertain whether such fund manager and the products being offered were registered with the SEC.

Uduk said the capital market was properly positioned to provide benefits to Nigerians.

According to her, SEC has been doing a lot in terms of investor education to assist people understand issues surrounding the capital market.

She said, “This is for the all-important purpose of ensuring that the gains of your participation, be it dividends or proceeds from share sales/transfers, accrue to you seamlessly without sweat and in the shortest time possible.

“The purpose is also to ensure that you do not fall victim to the antics of fraudsters who purport to be able to double any amount of money you make available to them as investment value.

“These fraudsters or promoters of Ponzi schemes are the false prophets of the investment environment; they are the ill-wind that blows no good and at whose sight you must flee. They are to be avoided.”
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