Felix Duke, the President, Creative Industry Group, has said celebrities are now abetting criminally minded persons in the society to defraud unsuspecting Nigerians of their hard-earned money.
The PUNCH had reported a series of cases where victims of Ponzi schemes scam called out Nigerian celebrities whose influential status were used to influence people into subscribing to fraudulent plans advertised by the criminal suspects.In achieving their aim, the suspects reportedly promise bogus returns for less financial commitment to lure investors to part with their money.However, due to lack of proper business management, among other reasons, the structures created by these fraudulent individuals would suddenly collapse, leading to loss of investors’ monetary commitments that plunged them into untold hardship.Describing accounts of aggrieved victims as a sad development, Duke said celebrities were supposed to be role models to people, adding that it was unfortunate that they had been aiding criminals to defraud Nigerians.The ace musician said, “I am very sad about it; the attitude is criminal. Defrauding Nigerians is a criminal act and it is very unfortunate that they are using celebrities that people are looking up to defraud people.“Celebrities that are supposed to have integrity; celebrities that are supposed to be a role model to people, they have become a source of pain to Nigerians. Instead of becoming role models, they have become criminals, aiding and abetting criminals and it is very sad.”Duke said plans were on to run a commercial to advise Nigerians not to trust companies that would tell them they would double their money within a short period of time.He added, “Even if they use any celebrity, people should not listen or trust them. We will run the commercial on social media as well to save Nigerians from these criminals. A company just swindled some people under our chapter in Benue State.“The victims said because they saw celebrities advertising for those people, they trusted them and invested their money and now, they have defrauded them. My advice to artists, actors, actresses or any celebrity is that, if you are a celebrity, you are a face in this country.“Check any company that calls on you to be their ambassador. Ask about them and do a security check on them because immediately you start doing publicity for them, you have become part of them. The celebrity is the one who convinces people to part away with their money, so you are an accomplice.“So, if a case is being investigated by the EFCC, they will invite you. So, I advise them to desist from this and they should not think of their belly alone and be their brother’s keeper and think about their fans.