A Nigerian man, Osagie Aigbonohan, was on Friday convicted by the Southwark Crown Court, United Kingdom over his involvement in a romance scam in which he conned several women out of thousands of pounds.
This was made known in a statement issued on Saturday by the National Crime Agency.
The 40-year-old Nigerian was said to have used a number of aliases to contact women online through dating and social media sites, and in one case cheated a woman out of nearly £10,000 (about N7.5million at the parallel market).
According to the statement, Aigbonohan used the name ‘Tony Eden’, after which he struck up a ten-month relationship with the victim in 2020, via a dating site and persuaded her to lend him money to buy machinery for his business overseas.
The victim reportedly made nine transfers into various accounts operated by the Nigerian under fake identities, with the money eventually being sent into a personal account held by Aigbonohan, which he used for everyday spending.
Also, data recovered from Aigbonohan’s phone showed that he received money from at least eight other victims and had been in contact with over 670 people in total.
The statement said one of the victims was terminally ill, but Aigbonohan continued to pursue her even after she had passed away.
He was arrested in July 2021 and a false driver’s license was found on him at the time. Also it was discovered that he had no legal right to be in the UK, having overstayed his visa from two years ago.
Records showed that despite living in Abbey Wood, London, the Nigerian will spend victim’s money in locations across London, Manchester and Glasgow.
NCA officer’s conducted a search on the culprit's residence where they found a footwear he had purchased with store vouchers that could be linked back to one of the victims.
Aigbonohan was said to have appeared before Southwark Crown Court on Friday, where he pleaded guilty to charges relating to fraud and money laundering.
He will remain in custody until he is sentenced at the same court on 14 January 2022.
Dominic Mugan, NCA Operations Manager, said: “Romance fraud is a particularly cruel crime that impacts victims both emotionally and financially, with victims often feeling like they’re the ones to blame.
“Aigbonohan showed total disregard for the victims in this case and was happy to commit further fraud by moving money between various fraudulently held accounts.
“It’s possible that he contacted more people than we know about, if you think you may have been a victim, or may be a victim in a similar case, we would urge you to report the details to Action Fraud.”