A prosecution witness in a N6.9 million Ponzi Scheme fraud trial on Monday told an Ikeja Division of the Lagos High Court how one Darlington Agomuo, and several others were defrauded by one Chibuogum Oraelosi under the pretext that the sum will qualify them to a profitable investment under the scheme, named Convenient Options Multilevel Scheme.
Daniel Nyang, an Economic and Financial Crimes witness, said he was introduced to the scheme by one Mike Marolo.
Mrs. Oraelosi is the Managing Director of Convenient Options Multilevel Scheme, a multilevel marketing scheme where recharge cards were used as products, with a subscription fee of N30,000. While N20,000 is for an individual’s registration, N10,000 is for recharge cards.
“I picked interest and realized that it involved N30,000 to get started,” said Mr. Nyang.
“I thought of bringing people who don’t have N30,000 and have someone sponsor them so long as they kept bringing people into the scheme and in return, they will be paying through their proceeds or what we call bonus.”
“At that point where I never had finance to go into the project, I met Mr. Darlington and after explaining the business to him, he was willing to be the sponsor on the condition that I will take him to the Convenient Option office to meet with Mrs. Oraelosi.”
Mr. Nyang further said that, “at the meeting, Mrs. Oraelosi clarified all doubts and made all of us believe that the business is genuine and workable and the sponsorship started, we filled forms, recruiting people and opened account with the Micro finance bank that Mr. Darlington had approached because of his relationship with the Micro finance bank.”
“In the first month, we received bonus of about N200,000 as a group. But the following month, issues started cropping up and as of the last information received from Mr. Darlington, he said he had disbursed about N3.5million to Mrs. Oraelosi,” said Mr. Nyang.
According to the witness, “In each person you introduce to the scheme, you are to be paid N1,500 as bonus and when you get to a certain level depending on your down-line, we receive incentives like Honda CR-V and other incentives.”
“At the second and third month when people who signed up weren’t receiving their bonuses, pressure started. The Micro finance bank withdrew their sponsorship with the unfolding of events.”
“Subsequently, we were informed by Mr. Darlington that the United Bank of Africa (UBA) had taken up sponsorship and we were required to open an account before we could enjoy sponsorship. Mr. Darlington paid the money for everyone in the group including me. But there was still no headway.”
“When people revolted, including Darlington against another of her (Mrs. Oraelosi) business plan which involved signing up with N50,000, she announced that they were moving away from recharge cards network marketing to Foodstuffs network marketing.”
“On several occasions, we went to her for explanations on the original business plan we had, she chased us with mobile policemen and security dogs. Not too long we could not reach her information got to us that she had travelled to U.S.A,” said Mr. Nyang.
Justice Hakeem Oshodi adjourned the case to July 5 for continuation of trial.
Mrs. Oraelosi and her firm, Convenient Options Limited, are facing three-count charge of fraud and obtaining by false pretence.
She pleaded not guilty to the charges.