Two scam­mers jailed for steal­ing £1.6m from vic­tim

So­phis­ti­cated ro­mance con had ‘huge im­pact’ on duped woman

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS - By Nathan Spen­de­low

TWO men who set up a so­phis­ti­cated ro­mance scam which duped a Hilling­don woman out of £1.6 mil­lion, were jailed for five-and-a-half years in to­tal on Fri­day.

Ife Ojo, 31, of Ham­monds Drive, Peter­bor­ough, was jailed for 34 months, while ac­com­plice, 43-year-old Oluse­gun Ag­baje, of Ker­shaw Close, Hornchurch, was given 32 months, both for con­spir­acy to de­fraud.

In Jan­uary 2015, a woman in her 40s, from Hilling­don, re­ported to Met Po­lice that she had been a vic­tim of fraud in­volv­ing the pair.

She told po­lice that in Fe­bru­ary 2014 she met a man call­ing him­self Chris­tian An­der­son on a dat­ing site and af­ter a few weeks, they met in per­son.

He told her that he was an en­gi­neer work­ing in the oil in­dus­try, that he was di­vorced and had a daugh­ter, and that his father and sis­ter died of can­cer.

Af­ter a few weeks, he told her that he loved her and said he was hav­ing a dif­fi­cult time work­ing on a pro­ject in Benin, Africa.

He said that he wanted to come home to be with her but first he needed some spe­cial­ist ma­chin­ery so he could fin­ish the pro­ject, ask­ing her for a loan to pay im­port duty for the ma­chin­ery.

Basil­don Crown Court heard how she paid more than £30,000 into the busi­ness ac­count of his sup­posed per­sonal as­sis­tant.

An­der­son then re­quested more money, rang­ing from £25,000 for a po­lice fine, to thou­sands of pounds to free up in­her­i­tance money left by his mother, who lived in Cape Town.

The vic­tim was con­vinced they would live to­gether and had re­port­edly been look­ing for a home for them to buy.

Be­tween March and De­cem­ber 2014, she paid £1.6mil­lion into nu­mer­ous bank ac­counts.

The money was sub­se­quently trans­ferred into var­i­ous per­sonal ac­counts, in­clud­ing £35,000 the bank ac­counts Ojo and Ag­baje.

She re­port­edly doubted the au­then­tic­ity of An­der­son’s sto­ries on nu­mer­ous oc­ca­sions but ev­ery time she asked for proof he sent false doc­u­men­ta­tion or made up ex­cuses for why he could to of not send her ev­i­dence.

Email ex­cerpts from An­der­son men­tion that her doubts were ‘be­cause of the hurts you had in the past and in­se­cu­ri­ties’.

Po­lice car­ried out a fi­nan­cial in­ves­ti­ga­tion and iden­ti­fied Ag­baje as one of the re­cip­i­ents of the vic­tim’s money.

Po­lice vis­ited his home where they found him with Ojo and both were ar­rested.

De­tec­tive

Chief In­spec­tor Gary Miles, from the Met’s spe­cial­ist cy­ber crime and fraud unit, said: “The fi­nan­cial and emo­tional im­pact to the vic­tim has been huge. Many vic­tims bor­row money from friends and fam­ily to pay the sus­pects.

“Vic­tims typ­i­cally feel em­bar­rassed and ashamed when they re­alise they have been duped, so they of­ten don’t re­port what has hap­pened to them or even con­fide in a friend.”

n JAILED: Ife Ojo and Oluse­gun Ag­baje

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