Police Arrest Master '419' Fraudster
An expatriate alleged to be the mastermind behind a number of business frauds and 419 cases has been arrested by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service.
The suspect, Sohiel Issah Arbid, 59, a Palestinian-born American, was arrested when he and his Ghanaian accomplices, who are currently at large, allegedly defrauded a Japanese consultant of $120,000 under the pretext of selling gold to him.
The suspect and his accomplices lured the Japanese, Kaya Yusuke, 36, from South Africa to Ghana to fleece him of his money.
According to the Director in charge of the Vetting and Crime Analysis Unit of the CID, Chief Superintendent Dennis Abade, the suspect had been on the police wanted list for quite some time now.
He said to carry out the business fraud, the suspect met his victims at hotels to verify samples of products they had been asked to buy.
After that, he informed the victims that he had just flown into the country from abroad to purchase the products.
Chief Supt Abade said his presence alone was enough for people to part with huge sums of money, only for them to realise later that they had been duped.
He said almost all the units investigating fraud cases, such as Visa Fraud and Commercial Crime, had cases involving the suspect.
Following Arbid's arrest, a number of victims went to the CID Headquarters to identify him as the person alleged to be at the centre of a number of business fraud and 419 cases.
Chief Supt Abade said on June 25, 2012, Yusuke was lured into the country by Arbid and his Ghanaian accomplices through another Japanese businessman.
On arrival in the country, Yusuke met the said Japanese, who introduced Arbid as a businessman who could supply any quantity of gold.
He said unknown to Yusuke, his Japanese friend had also been lured by the suspect and his accomplices into the country, for the same purpose of duping him.
The director said Arbid told the complainant that he knew some Ghanaian gold dealers who could supply any quantity of gold at a cheap price and the victim decided to buy three kilogrammes of gold at a cost of $120,000.
He said on June 28, 2012, the suspect introduced two Ghanaians to Yusuke as the suppliers of the gold and the three presented three bars of gold which they claimed weighed three kilogrammes.
But Yusuke insisted that he wanted the transaction to pass through the Precious Minerals Marketing Company (PMMC) Limited and Arbid agreed.
Arbid took Yusuke to the PMMC, where another accomplice, posing as an official of the PMMC, took the gold bars into one of the offices of the company and returned shortly to confirm that the three bars had tested positive for real gold.
Convinced that he had done the right thing, Yusuke then paid $120,000 to the two men, who in turn handed over the gold bars to him.
When Yusuke requested for the assayer's report, the suspects directed him to go personally to the PMMC for it.
Chief Supt Abade said Yusuke went back to the offices of the PMMC to get the necessary documentation to have the gold exported to South Africa but it was there that he detected that the three bars were fake gold.
After realising that he had been duped, Yusuke made a report to the police, who traced the suspect to one of the plush hotels where he was arrested.
He said unknown to Yusuke, his Japanese friend had already been duped and wanted to return home but had no money to buy a ticket, and so he was made to lure another victim as a condition to get him a ticket back home.
According to Chief Supt Abade, while Arbid was being led away to the cells, a number of victims identified him.