Two scammers jailed for stealing £1.6m from victim
Sophisticated romance con had ‘huge impact’ on duped woman
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.
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