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Thursday, December 1, 2022

Jamaican switch

Funmilayo Olagunju

Black’s Law Dictionary defines Jamaican switch thus; This refers to an illegal scheme whereby one conspirator convinces the victim of a need for help in handling a large sum of money, usually, by claiming to have found the money or by claiming to be an unsophisticated foreigner, and promises to share part of the money with the victim or asks the victim for help in finding a suitable charity to donate to, at which time the other conspirator appears and promises to assist if both the victim and first conspirator provide good-faith money, the intent being for the two conspirators to leave with all the money, including the victim’s.

This scheme is also termed pigeon drop.

Crime and financial vice spreads across Nationality and gender. It is erroneous to believe that swindling activities is limited to a particular Nation, tribe or gender.

In Nigeria, the colloquial term for such swindling act and other related offences is 419.

The root of the expression 419 is Section 419 of the Criminal Code Act. CAP C38 LFN 2004 which prohibits Obtaining credit by false pretence. The cited section reads thus:

419A. Obtaining credit by false pretences or other fraud.

(1) Any person who by any false pretence or by means of any other fraud obtains credit for himself or nay other person-

(a)in incurring any debt or liability; or

(b) by means of an entry in a debtor and creditor account between the person giving and the person receiving credit,

is guilty of a felony and is liable to imprisonment for three years.

(2) The offender cannot be arrested without warrant unless found committing the offence.

The procedure of apprehending and prosecuting the suspect is stressful. Be circumspect in your dealings and do not be greedy for sudden money or fortune.

“Dishonest money dwindles away, but whoever gathers money little by little makes it grow”

Proverbs 13:11.

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