The police in Lagos have arrested an estate agent, Ayo Ademola, said to be a member of a syndicate which specialises in swindling money out of intending tenants.
It was learnt that the suspects used pseudonyms and vacant houses, which were not in their care, in the Lekki area of the state to perpetrate their fraudulent acts.
It was gathered that Ademola had allegedly defrauded one Yewande, who wanted to rent a two-bedroomed apartment on Johnvic Ogboangbo Street, Lekki Phase 1, of N865,000 sometime in January.
The suspect had given his name as James to the unsuspecting victim.
Yewande said she had gone with a man to fumigate the building on January 24 when a security guard denied them entry into the compound, which she had earlier accessed several times unhindered.
She explained that she called a number on a banner hung on the house and a man, who identified himself as the principal agent of the property, said she had been duped.
She said, “My tenancy had expired at my previous residence, and I had a few weeks to secure another accommodation. I had discussed with my friends, who informed me that they saw a banner around Lekki Second Roundabout and called the number of the agent on my behalf.
“I also spoke with the alleged owner of the property who introduced himself as Femi Coker. He arranged for his agent, called James, to meet up with me in Lekki Phase 1 to inspect the property.
“I liked the property, but it was above my budget. I called Mr. Femi Coker and expressed the concerns I had. He said he would help and after a series of negotiations, he agreed that I paid a sum of N865,000, including agency and caution fee. The condition he gave was that I should send him my job details and email address.
“I had viewed the house about three times. After signing the contract and legal agreement, he sent his account details for me to make payment. I made the payment on January 23.”
Our correspondent learnt that the case was reported to the police at the Maroko division and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, which frozen the suspect’s bank account.
Luck, however, ran out on Ademola last Wednesday when one of Yewande’s friends called him on the telephone and pretended that she also wanted to rent an apartment.
He was arrested by operatives from the police division while he wanted to collect a year rent of N3.6m for a three-bedroomed duplex apartment from the friend.
The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, Olarinde Famous-Cole, said the suspect would soon be arraigned in court.