Nigerian inmate made $1m running online scam from jail

A convicted fraudster managed to gain $1 million and buy expensive cars and houses while serving a 24-year term in a Nigerian maximum security prison.

Hope Olusegun Aroke was arrested in 2012 for internet fraud. Three years later, he was convicted on two counts of obtaining money by false pretense, check cloning, wire transfer and forgery.

However, after Aroke had been taken to hospital for an undisclosed illness, he ended up attending social functions and staying at luxury hotels with his wife and children.

“Preliminary investigation revealed that the convict, against established standard practice, had access to internet and mobile phone in the correctional center where he is supposed to be serving his jail term,” Nigeria’s economic and financial crimes commission stated. “The circumstance of his admission into the hospital and those who aided his movement from the hospital to hotels and other social engagements is already being investigated.”

It is reported that the prisoner opened two accounts under a fake name, Akinwunmi Sorinmade. A new internet fraud scheme was created and operated worldwide through a network of accomplices bringing at least $1 million.

“The convict was also in possession of his wife’s bank account token in prison, which he used to freely transfer funds,” Wilson Uwujaren, a spokesman for the economic and financial crimes commission, advised.

All that had allowed Aroke to buy real estate and vehicles that were later registered under his wife’s name.

It is alleged that the prison staff were in on the illegal activities but it is yet to be proved.

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