Over the years, Ponzi schemes have grown and gained massive heights in Nigeria, with various individuals developing new ideas to siphon investors off their money.
Ponzi schemes are a form of financial fraud that lures investors with the promise of high returns (ROI), but often ends up giving no returns at all, with a possible loss of investors’ total capital.
It is a fraudulent investment operation where the operator, who could either be an individual or an organization, pays returns to its investors from new capital paid into the scheme by new investors, rather than from profit earned through a legitimate investment.
There have been efforts by security operatives in the country to put a stop to this menace, but it has remained futile. This is because oftentimes, these Ponzi scammers make use of popular celebrities or social media influencers to advertise these schemes.
Operators of these Ponzi schemes usually entice their investors by offering high returns within a short period of time.
Even with continuous warnings about the dangers of Ponzi schemes, thousands of Nigerians are still lured into these schemes every year by the promise of quick returns with no risks or hard work.
While some of these Ponzi scheme operators have been arrested, a lot of them are presently on the run with investors’ money running into millions of naira.
Ajetunmobi couple: Bamise and Elizabeth Ajetunmobi convinced many people to invest in their company called Global Solutions Ltd, they fled the country with investors’ money unaccounted for.
The Nigerian couple was accused of stealing N22 billion from investors.
They also operated a company called Imagine Global, a micro-lending service to small and medium businesses, and offered 22 percent interest on loans and 10 percent returns to investors.
According to reports, Antigua and Barbuda granted citizenship to the fleeing Nigerian couple.
Wale Jana: Adewale Aladejana, also known as Wale Jana, is the Chief Executive Officer of Sapphire group, a manufacturing company that specializes in the production of perfumes, wristwatches, and eyeglasses.
The CEO had used major social media influencers, and actresses to promote his brand, luring investors with the promise of a high Return on investment (ROI).
However, several investors and distributors have taken to social media to expose him for failing to make returns on their investments and also for withholding their capital running into hundreds of millions.
Infact, a former influencer for his brand, Nollywood actress, Tonto Dikeh has distanced herself from Wale Jana and his Sapphire Scent, she stated that people who invest in Wale’s business do so at their own risk.
He had last year been arrested by The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), but was released and has since been on the run.
Kunle Adesua: Is the chief operator of Poyoyo Investment limited, a Ponzi scheme that claims to offer a 20 percent return on investment (ROI).
On its website, Poyoyo says it invests in stocks, bonds, venture capitalism, and derivatives. However, Poyoyo Investment has defrauded many individuals of billions of naira.
Adesua who is based in Akure, the Ondo state capital, has been on the run since the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) secured a court order to freeze the bank account of the company.
His current location is unknown yet even as security operatives begin their investigation to bring him to justice.
SEC had warned that Poyoyo had no significant mode of operation and was paying investors with other investors’ money, like every other Ponzi scheme.
Eniola Gbenga Olatundosun: Is the Chief Executive Officer of Titan Farms.
The company has succeeded in scamming many Nigerians through failed agricultural schemes. Investors are promised a 25 percent return on investment (ROI).
Eniola gained the trust of various individuals through associating with top traditional rulers in the South West region.
Munachim Onyia Sandra: Was known to be the major operator of MECO Enterprises, a sole proprietorship she registered in September 2018, according to companies registration filings.
She also ran IBC Africa, an investment firm, and Muna Investment, a Ponzi scheme through which she allegedly swindled unsuspecting investors.
The Interpol section of the Nigerian Police Force has declared her wanted over her involvement in a N5.3 billion investment fraud.
A warrant of arrest issued for Ms. Onyia by the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court said she is wanted for obtaining money under false pretense and pretending to be a staff of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Kayode Joshua: Was arraigned by men of Force Criminal Investigation Department (FCID) Annex, Alagbon-Ikoyi, Lagos, for defrauding 170 unsuspecting investors to the tune of N10.8 billion under a fraudulent investment.
He was arraigned on 170 counts of conspiracy and obtaining money by false pretense alongside his company, Quintessential Investment Company Limited.
The investment company claimed to be a reputable financial firm that trades in the money market, real estate, etc.
Mr. Joshua was however granted bail and is currently at large, and a bench warrant has been issued for his second arrest.
Francis Admos Uju: Has been declared wanted by the Interpol National Central Bureau (NCB) of the Nigeria Police Force for defrauding investors.
Uju defrauded victims under his company, Addy Finance & Investment Limited, registered under the Fund Managers Association of Nigeria (FMAN).
He was declared wanted following a June 28 petition by one Charles Mba and other investors. They had transferred the funds into Uju’s company account after seeing an investment advert on the internet, including on social media platforms.
The total amount involved in the alleged fraud is still unclear, but reports have it that Uju fleeced his victims to the tune of billions of naira.
Onifide Ifedayo: The founder of GOATTI, an online livestock investment company that allows Nigerians to own livestock virtually without a physical farm and share dividends after maturity period and sales.
GOATTI was founded in 2017 as a physical livestock farm while the virtual farming app was launched in May 2018.
Ifedayo defrauded investors to the tune of hundreds of millions, after cajoling them into an investment scheme with a promise to return every investment capital with 30 percent interest after six months.
Adama J Adama: Is the Chief Executive Officer of Ceepass, a firm that manages a digital bank for savings and investment, Viable X; an export financing platform, and Farm4me; a platform for contract farming in Nigeria.
According to reports, thousands of Nigerians invested via the above-mentioned platforms but since last year no one has been paid, as their offices have been closed and they do not respond to emails.
Adama had defrauded many investors to the tune of billions of naira, with the promise of a 50 percent return investment (ROI) in four months.
He has however attributed the delay of payment to a supposed cyber attack on his firm’s payment platform and is currently hiding.
Omini James Ofem: Popularly known as Nero, is a major operator of Shadownet Global Limited, a company that claims to help people put their money to work in the capital market and other major investment systems.
Alele Sunny Iseere: Founder of Isomen Farms, was called out on Twitter for scamming investors.
According to the firm’s Instagram, it is a start-up grower and distributor of healthy livestock, poultry meats, well processed and packaged rice.
According to the username on Twitter identified as Isomen Farms scam, Iseere and her brother Enahoro Alele who is a partner in the business have gone into hiding and have closed their office.
The last post on Isomen Farms Instagram page was made on April 2, in which the firm pleaded with their investors, the statement reads, “After several months of not posting on our social media page, we have decided to post this to ease the tension because we have realized that not posting has made most persons worried and we apologize for that.
“We are extremely sorry for the poor communication, we were carried away by the issues the farm is facing for some months. We understand the losses our farm had to face, the pain some of our investors had to experience and the time you and the rest of the team invested. We are working on all the issues on ground and we look forward to resolving them soon.”
Harrison Osenwengie: The founder of HO Corn, was been declared wanted by Interpol over a multi-billion-naira investment fraud.
Osemwengie duped investors with the promise of 50 percent in return for their investments after six months.
According to reports, the company left its third-floor office at the Africa Reinsurance Building, Karimu Kotun Street, Victoria Island, Lagos, without informing its investors.
Ede Agida Peters: Is the Chief Executive Officer of Bara Investment.
He mobilized over a billion naira from Nigerian investors through a Ponzi scheme operated by his firm.
Nigeria’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) won its case against Mr. peters, and he was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment.