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14.09.2021 news After Defrauding 61 Investors of N41m and Boasting of Immunity Against EFCC Arrest, Maya Okon Disappears

Published 14th Sep, 2021

By Emmanuel Uti

Edidem Eyamba (not real name) first heard of Maya Desire Investment Platform from a colleague at work. With constant alerts shown to him, Eyamba was convinced the platform could not fail. But this belief of his would later cost him N125,000.

Maya Desire advertised itself on a variety of social media platforms as a forex and cryptocurrency trading firm that guaranteed 80 percent return on investment (ROI). On some occasions, Maya promised 10percent ROI in 40 days. It boasted that if things went south, everyone would get their investment capital.

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This information, coupled with the alerts from his colleague, drew Eyamba to the platform. In November 2019, after much consideration, he invested N125,000 with Maya, hoping to get N525,000 in six months. However, when it was time to get the money, Maya Desire did not turn up.

“I was supposed to get my money back in May 2020. But she became tricky. At first, she claimed to be running at a loss. Later on, she blocked me. I only asked for my money, two months after I could have got it,” Eyamba said.

Deborah Hassan, a medical doctor, has a different story. Her initial experience with Maya Desire blinded her from identifying the firm as a fraudulent venture. She had invested N250,000 in September 2019 and got a return of N464,000 after one month. For her, that was enough proof that the investment platform was legitimate.

On October 30, 2020, Hassan reinvested N500,000 with Maya Desire, hoping to get a return of N928,000. The new one was to last until February 2020 before she got a return on her investment.

Maya Okon

By February, Maya Desire had become inaccessible. The platform failed to pay Hassan and did not communicate with her. She called several times to ask why she had not received her money, but Maya Desire’s customer service always assured her that her money was safe. By August 2020, the company’s phone numbers were no longer reachable.

N1MILLION DOWN THE DRAIN

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Ogedengbe Ololade (not real name), a teacher in Abuja, lost N1,000,000 investing with Maya Desire. He invested N1,000,000 in August 2019 and expected to earn N1,856,000 by October 2019. In October, he reached out to the investment firm but was told to wait.

“She later explained to me that the business was having a bad season, adding that if I could wait for another one year, she would refund my capital but without the interest,” Ololade said.

Realising that he could lose his money since everyone complained of the company’s inability to pay, he waited. But it is now two years since he invested a million naira. He has neither got his money nor the ROI.

DECEIVED BY AN INSTAGRAM ADVERT

Narrating her experience, Susan Timothy told FIJ that she fell for Maya Desire after she stumbled on a compelling Instagram advert.

“After joining the platform in October 2019, I invested N250,000. I was to get N500,000 by February 2020, but when the time came for her to pay, she told me nonsense.

“I chatted with her in April, asking for my money, but she blocked me. I even used my husband’s phone to chat with her, but she blocked his number. Now, I have no possibility of getting my money back, as she has blocked me on all platforms,” Timothy said.

ASK FOR YOUR MONEY, GET BLOCKED

Olumide Adefioye, a worker at a corporate firm in Ibadan, had a terrible experience with Maya Desire. He joined the platform following persistent messages from a colleague about it.

“I lost N1,000,000 to Maya Desire. I joined in August 2019 and the Maya representative that registered me said I would get N1,856,000 in October, but it never came. I attempted to get my money, but she blocked me on WhatsApp,” he said.

For Hamzat Isah, when it dawned on him that he might have lost N125,000 to Maya Desire, he immediately reached out to the CEO on WhatsApp. But her actions shocked him.

“I asked her when I would get my money, as it was late, but she did not sound remorseful. So I told her I might take action against her, but she blocked me,” he said.

Isah told FIJ that Maya Desire investors had a WhatsApp platform where Okon communicated with investors from time to time.

“She put all of us in one WhatsApp closed group. If you asked her why we were yet to get our money, she would remove you from the group and block you,” Isah said.

Later on, Okon dissolved the initial group where all the investors belonged and created new groups. Isah said each of the groups had only the investors living in a particular state. For instance, all the investors from Abuja were in one of the new groups, while those in Lagos had theirs.

“Sometimes in April 2020, Maya Okon started ‘playing with our heads’. She told us in Abuja to be patient, as she was paying the people in Lagos. That raised our hopes. We waited for her to pay Lagos investors until we learnt she was lying. The same lies she told us were what she told those in other states – that she was paying those in Abuja,” Isah said.

‘EVEN EFCC CANNOT ARREST ME’

FIJ learnt that to recover their money from Maya Desire, investors created a WhatsApp group. Along the line, they realised Okon had scammed N42million from 61 of them.

Despite Okon’s boasts that no one would get their money because even the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) could not apprehend her, investors in Abuja are pleading with the EFCC to investigate her.

Currently, no one knows the whereabouts of Okon. However, some investors said they spotted her two weeks ago at Osbourne Estate, Ikoyi, Lagos. The Instagram account she used to lure people has since been deleted. Right now, there is no way to reach her.

FIJ placed a call to Maya Okon’s phone number, but it was not reachable. Also, a text message sent to her has got no response.

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Published 14th Sep, 2021

By Emmanuel Uti

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