Two fraudsters from Nigeria with addresses in the UK have been imprisoned.
The two were imprisoned for using an internet dating scam to defraud victims out of £674,000.
After pleading guilty to conspiracy to launder money, James Olagbaiye, 47, of Newham, received a four years and four months’ term at Southwark Crown Court on Friday.
Adesola Adebayo, his 38-year-old accomplice, was sentenced to four years and six months in prison after admitting guilt to conspiring to commit fraud and money laundering.
The court heard testimony about how both men were a part of an organized criminal gang with headquarters in both the UK and Nigeria that used online romance fraud to defraud several women and a man out of more than £670,000.
A victim from Switzerland in her 60s individually lost the equivalent of £612,000.
She thought she was having an online relationship with a London-based British doctor and biologist.
As part of the ploy, the con artists provided her a picture of a phony British passport with the image of an elderly guy.
This fraudulent online persona requested the victim’s money as a loan for a business venture that it claimed had created ventilation machines for the National Health Service (NHS) to help fight the Covid-19 outbreak.
After the two men were apprehended, the victim didn’t realize she had been conned until she was approached by police from the Met’s Economic Crime Unit in Hendon.
The team also located a female victim from the USA, along with a man, two women, and three victims from the UK.
The males were detained on October 29, 2020, at a Newham residence. Officers discovered additional victims after seizing their bank statements and mobile phones during their arrests.
the Met’s Specialist Crime Detective Constable Chris Collins remarked;
“These men have deceived their victims with a web of deceit and have misused their good intentions in the worst way possible.
“I would advise anyone in an online connection to exercise caution in granting financial requests, regardless of how sincere and convincing their justification may be.”