By Modupe Gbadeyanka
A teenager accused of committing capital market fraud, Mr Tanko Damilola Balogun, has been directed to spend the next 12 months in jail by Magistrate Ibrahim Mohammed of Senior Magistrate Court Zone 6, Wuse, Abuja.
Mr Balogun, 19, admitted that in June 2019, he started a Ponzi scheme, where he promised to double investment of participants in 45 minutes. To make his business work well and lure unsuspecting investors, he had to use the name and image of Afrinvest, a reputable investment company in the capital market registered by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
“What prompted me to start the business was an advert that I saw on face book 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 for my business,” the convict confessed.
“So far, I have been able to raise about N30,000 in the account from about 15 investors. This is because most of the investors pay in mostly N1000 or N2000, 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,” he further said.
The teenager blamed “the devil” for pushing him to commit the capital market crime. However, he advised “people that are into such activity should stop as there is no gain and peace of mind in the business and it will add more problems and you can never escape the law.”
During the court session, a police prosecutor from the SEC Police Unit, ASP Abubakar Shehu Mandiya, stated that Mr Balogun created a WhatsApp group in the name of Afrinvest to commit the fraud.
“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,” Mr Mandiya said.
In his ruling, Mr Mohammed told the convict, “You are very talented. You should have used your talent in legal ways to help yourself and your family instead of resorting to crime
“Since he is a first-time offender, this court will temper justice and sentence him to prison for one year without an option of fine.”
Business Post reports that Mr Balogun, a native of Kogi State, was brought before the court on a one count charge of impersonation contrary to Section 179 of the Penal Code Law, Chapter 89 and convicted under the same law.
He got into trouble when in September 2019, Afrinvest petitioned SEC about activities of the convict on social media. The agency immediately swung into action, leading into his arrest and prosecution after an investigation.
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