A 21-year-old unemployed young man, who allegedly stole GHS 34,400.00 by logging into Richmond Gyawu’s Ecobank Mobile application account has been sentenced by an Accra Circuit Court.
The convict is said to have used part of the stolen money to purchase a Toyota Corolla Saloon vehicle and purchased a plot of land at Juapong.
Master Nathaniel Kponyo, charged on 13 counts of stealing, pleaded guilty at first appearance in Court.
The Court presided over by Mrs Susana Eduful convicted him on his own plea and sentenced him to two weeks imprisonment and to a fine of 1000 penalty (GHS 12,000) unit in default serve a four-year imprisonment with hard labour.
Police Chief Inspector Isaac Anquandah, prosecuting, told the court that the complainant, Mr Richard Nartey, represented the management of Ecobank Ghana, while the convict was a resident of Assin Akonfide in the Central Region.
The prosecution said on July 26, 2022, Ecobank Ghana reported to the Police that they had received some complaints from their customers about some unauthorized transactions on their account leading to the loss of over GHS 1,000,000.00, adding that monies were transferred in bits from the various customers’ bank account via the Ecobank Mobile Application into different mobile money wallets.
It said Police investigations revealed that the convict contacted some of the customers and posed as Ecobank staff to convince them into sharing their One-Time-Pin (OPT) and or Mobile Application Pin after which they would gain unauthorized access into their bank account via Ecobank money application and transferred their monies into different mobile money wallets of pre-registered SIM cards that they have earlier on obtained.
The prosecution said on September 23, 2022, one of the victims, Richmond Gyawu, made a complaint to the Police following the unauthorized transfers of a total amount of GHS38,400 from his Ecobank account into eight vodafone mobile money wallets without his authorization.
It said Police investigations on the mobile money wallets that received the stolen monies led to the arrest of a mobile money merchant at Assin Fosu, where the stolen monies were cashed out.
Further investigations revealed the convict was the one who had cashed out the stolen money.
The prosecution said the convict was subsequently arrested at Juapong in the Volta Region and admitted the offence and mentioned names of his accomplices.
The prosecution said the convict added that his accomplices were the ones who procured the pre-registered SIM cards to facilitate the fraud.
It said the convict stated having installed the Ecobank mobile application on his mobile phone, an iphone Xs Max, after which he logged into customers account by randomly entering phone numbers and the last six digits of the phone numbers as the corresponding PIN codes without authority.
Again, the convict indicated that he transferred money into the mobile money wallets of the pre-registered SIM cards he had earlier on inserted into another mobile phone to receive the fraudulent transfers.
The prosecution said the convict thereafter withdrew the money at Momo merchant points and discarded the SIM card once he noticed it had been blocked.
It said investigations also revealed that the convict used the same Vodafone mobile money wallets to receive transfers from the Ecobank account of five other victims.
The prosecution said Police also realized that the convict used part of the stolen money to purchase a Toyota Corolla Saloon vehicle which had been retrieved.
It said manual examination of the convict’s iPhone Xs Max revealed screenshots of the Ecobank Mobile Application log-in with different phone numbers suspected to be that of Ecobank customers and potential victims.
The prosecution said there were also audio conversations between the convict and his accomplices about the Ecobank fraud.
It said the convict refunded GHS 35,000.00 to Gyawu.
The prosecution said efforts were being made to locate the accomplices while other victims of the accused persons were being identified.
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