The cloud turned sour for Olatunji Opeyemi in the fall of 2019 when reality dawned on him that he had been fleeced to the tune of N3.8 million by a fraudulent system he mistook for an opportunity.
It was December 2019, and Opeyemi was certain he would enjoy the coming festivities after he had calculated his interests and determined his supposed profits from the multiple plans he had subscribed to with an investment firm.
HoneyPays Micro Credit Investment Limited had dazzled Opeyemi, promising him a slew of benefits and offering him irresistible goodie packages. HoneyPays is a CAC-registered investment company that invests in forex and real estate. Between September and December of 2018, he earned at least $5,000 from three separate investment packages, having invested more than $1,900. This led him from probability to conviction that the investment company was authentic.
HONEYPAYS STARTS TO TASTE BITTER
In February 2019, Opeyemi proved his conviction by subscribing to three of HoneyPays’ packages. This time, he invested $7,279 to get a total of $10,889 (N3.8 m) in November. In November, Opeyemi had a premonition that he might lose his investments when HoneyPays defaulted on payment as promised. In December, reality hit Opeyemi that he had been scammed and the coming festivities would be marred by his new financial status.
By February 2020, when he was supposed to receive another set of money from other investment packages he subscribed to but didn’t get any, he immediately concluded he was done for.
“I was shattered when I found out that HoneyPays Micro Credit Investment Limited had failed and refused to pay my money. I was beyond heartbroken”, he said.
When Opeyemi first suspected that something had gone wrong, he contacted an acquaintance, Moses Ayantunji, who not only introduced him to the platform but also worked for the firm. According to him, both his acquaintance and the staff of the company assured him the issue would be resolved as they had it under check.
Opeyemi was, however, unimpressed by their contradictory facial gestures. So he informed his lawyer, who served HoneyPays a letter. On seeing the letter, HoneyPays replied, stating they would pay Opeyemi his money on March 31, 2020.
A few days before March 31, 2020, when Opeyemi’s money would have grown to $11,392, HoneyPays sent him a letter nullifying his issue and the packages he had subscribed to on the grounds that the company had been sold to another investor.
On April 7, 2020, Opeyemi’s lawyer, Uyi Oni Esq., wrote to the C.E.O to remind the organization of their indebtedness to him, which, by a letter of admittance signed by Abiola Oladejo, the Chief Operating Officer (COO), was due to be paid on or before 31st March 2020.
Opeyemi, who said he learnt that the HoneyPays CEO, Jeremy Desmond Woyens, acquired a hotel in Dubai, explained that the fraudulent company hinted, through their COO, that they would answer his questions, alongside other victims, on Instagram as to why he is yet to receive his money.
A CORPS MEMBER’S N2.5MILLION LOSS
FIJ investigation revealed that, like Opeyemi, many unsuspecting young people are victims of the HoneyPays’ scam. For Omotara Oladejo, who resides in Osun State, the magnitude of her loss sent her bankrupt after she was defrauded.
Oladejo, a serving corp member, invested N2.5 million in 2019 following her aunt’s approval of the platform. The investment package she subscribed to promised to grow her initial deposit to N7.5 million in nine months. And like a patient dog, she earnestly awaited the fattest bone. It never came.
In December 2019, when she expected to reap the fruits of her patience, the news that the company could not pay her in full disappointed her, but she excused it on the grounds that they offered her a better plan.
“They told me that they could pay only N2,680,000 then because they acquired a property in Dubai that would yield income in a short while,” she said. “They advised me to reinvest the remaining N5 million, which could double my money by the time the newly acquired property starts yielding income, and I agreed.”
By March 2020, however, HoneyPays served Oladejo an inedible breakfast when one of HoneyPays’ staff revealed that the novel coronavirus had taken a heavy toll on the company and that they would be in default on payment until further notice.
“At that point, I informed a lawyer who promptly served them with a letter. They told me after seeing my letter that I would be paid in August 2020, but today is August 1, 2021 and they are yet to pay me,” she said.
Oladejo was ready to take the matter to court when she learnt that the case could not be fought alone. So she assembled other victims, but till now, they are yet to take action as neither her nor anyone knows the whereabouts of the top officials of HoneyPays.
Oladejo’s aunt, who is now depressed as she was the passage through which many people were scammed, lost a huge sum of money through the investment and was sacked alongside other staff before the CEO and COO vanished into thin air.
A staff member of HoneyPays in Lagos simply identified as Victor said he regretted investing in the company. He told FIJ that when he joined the company in the fall of 2018, everything was fine until 2020, when he was sacked despite being owed salaries.
“What is painful is the way they ran with my money. I was supposed to get about N5 million from what I invested, but up till now I have neither seen my capital nor my profits,” Victor said.
WOYENS VANISHES FROM SOCIAL MEDIA
FIJ tried to reach HoneyPays on every available platform, but it was unsuccessful, as their number was unreachable and the social media accounts were dormant at the time of the report. Further investigations showed that the CEO of HoneyPays Micro Credit Investment Limited is a Christ Embassy Church member with an active presence at LZ4 Central Church, Alimosho, Lagos.
When FIJ combed social media platforms, findings showed that Woyens, who was disguised as a philanthropist, had abandoned social media. His last post on Instagram was August 4, 2020, around the time he was supposed to pay Oladejo.
Abiola Oladejo, the COO, hardly has a social media presence except for LinkedIn, where he masquerades as an international affairs professional. Asides from being rumoured to have started a similar fraudulent scheme in Osogbo, there is nothing about him.
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