Police in the City of Kigali have arrested four men said to be part of the racket that has been defrauding people.
The suspects were arrested in the central business district of Nyarugenge on Thursday following complaints filed by victims and information on their whereabouts.
Police preliminary investigations indicate that the quartet had conned various people at least Rwf13 million in the past few months.
One of the victims, a resident of Nyarugenge, was defrauded of about Rwf10 million, late last year.
Supt. Emmanuel Hitayezu, police spokesperson for the City of Kigali, said that the suspects were arrested as they were also hatching a plan to defraud another person upcountry.
“The four suspects, who are part of one ring, were on the list of wanted persons. On Thursday, we got information about some people, who were planning to defraud someone of millions of money, and coincidentally after their arrest, we found they were the same people wanted for similar criminal acts they committed in the recent past,” said Supt. Hitayezu.
How they con people
It is said that the suspects put together bundles of hundreds of US1 dollar notes and wrap them up with notes of US100 dollars, and in most cases operate inside or around commercial banks.
The dollar notes in most cases are genuine, although in other cases they cut papers and cover them with dollar notes.
One of the suspected criminals then pretends to have been an employee of a rich man in DR Congo where he stole the bundles of dollar notes or found it misplaced somewhere and didn’t know its worth.
He then approaches the target while either entering or coming out of the bank to deposit or withdraw money, tries to inquire on the value of dollars and if the person can help.
In the due course, another conman appears to be listening to the conversation approaches them and expresses interest to instead take up the deal.
It is through that trick that the target, after expressing interest, is made to leave the money he or she had with the alleged owner of the dollars before going with another criminal to verify the authenticity of the notes in the nearby forex bureau.
That would be the last time you will see them as the one, who goes with the victim to check if the dollar notes are not forged, also vanishes along the way.
In other cases, the victim is first given few dollar notes to verify if they are genuine and this is when they decide to give the criminal more money thinking they are ignorant and they don’t know the worth of dollars.
According to Supt. Hitayezu, the suspects were found in possession of a bundle of 350 dollar notes in US$1 denominations and covered with a note of US$100 on each side, which they apparently intended to use to con their next target.
“Such people pretend to be ignorant and in the process you end up being the ignorant. If you encounter such people…first ask yourself, why me?” he said.
He noted that the “shortest means to riches” could as well be the “shortest way to poverty” and appealed to the general public to instead work with the police to identify and arrest such criminals.
Under article 318 of the penal code, any person who, intentionally obtains a property belonging to another person fraudulently or by using false names or qualities, to give rise to hope or fear of harm and obtains a part or whole of a fortune is punishable with an imprisonment of three to five years and a fine of between Rwf3 million and Rwf5 million.