Like a scene in one of these dumb Nollywood movies which we never really expect it to happen in real life, I came across one of the most elaborate hoaxes to defraud a client. Mr Babatunde through his agents was able to locate a property he was desirous of purchasing at Alapere Ketu Lagos.
After inspecting the property the agent now told him that it was a safe property to buy because it had a C of O. Mr Babatunde then decided to contact me to conduct a background check on the property and C of O. My team swung into action and we discovered the following:
- The C of O registered at the land registry Alausa was in the name of a Polycarp Ogbonna
- The C of O was issued in 1990
- The picture on the C of O shows an Old man above 60 years
- The alleged owner of the property was a young man in his late twenties named Polycarp Ogbonna
- The Polycarp Ogbonna Jr claimed his own copy of the C of O was missing so he did an affidavit and police report to show it was missing.
- Polycarp Jr insisted that he had no idea where the missing C of O was and told Mr Babatunde he would sign anything as guarantee once he pays the N45 Million for the Property
Unknown to Polycarp Jnr he wasn't aware that Mr. Babatunde was conducting a verification exercise through us and we ended up discovering the truth:
The C of O wasn't missing. Mr Polycarp used that C of O to obtain a secret loan from a notorious Loan shark and handed the C of O to him in exchange for a large sum of money. Failure to pay the loan would mean forfeiting the property as collateral to his Borrowers.
Mr Polycarp knew he shared the same name with his late father so he used that to his advantage. He made copies of the C of O and spread it to agents to promote to prospective buyers and hoped the person would buy his stories that it was missing.
He didn't bank on the buyer doing a thorough search. His plan was to sell the house for N45Million and abscond with the loan he originally took from the loan sharks and the N45Million he obtained from the new buyer.
His ultimate aim was to set up the loan shark and the new buyer to start fighting for the property while watches them from the distance enjoying his ill gotten wealth. The moment we confronted him with our facts he just demanded for his photocopies and drove off without saying a word. God help us
Omonile Lawyer tips to avoid getting
scammed with a fake C of O
- Always investigate every Document given to you relating to land or property. On the face of it everything could check out but behind the scenes it could turn out to be a farce.
- Always insist on seeing the original documents physically before you pay cash. Once you start hearing stories why the documents are not available just walk away from the deal unless you could end up in tears tomorrow
- Make sure you physically see who you are dealing with is the original owner and make sure the seller can defend the documents he has. Failure to do so would render you penniless fast.