Irish Daily Mirror


Trio jailed for roles in heartless €250k scam

- BY JOHN HAND Chief reporter and CLAIRE HENRY

THREE men jailed for conning a woman out of her life savings in a romance fraud were working for the notorious “Black Axe gang”, gardai suspect.

And we can reveal they sent around €250,000 of the victim’s money from Ireland to accounts linked to fake companies set up in Turkey and Vietnam.

The gang is believed to have then used the money to buy products to ship back to Nigeria where they were sold legitimate­ly.

The Nigerian Black Axe gang is one of the biggest fraud gangs in the world and are behind a spate of romance scams across Ireland.

And sources say the scam involving this woman followed the method the group is known for using.

The woman reported the suspects who were arrested by investigat­ors from the National Economic Crime Bureau when she became suspicious concerning a man whom she had been messaging online.

Yesterday, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that a woman, who does not wish to be named, met a man calling himself Neil Turner on the dating website Plenty of Fish in November 2019.

The two began to message each other romantical­ly, and over 800 pages of messages were downloaded by gardai.

Gardai linked the fake profile of Neil Turner to three Nigerian nationals living in Ireland.

Omowale Owolabi, 31, of Kentswood Court in Navan pleaded guilty to theft.

Raak Sami Sadu, 32, of Lohunda Downs, Clonsilla, Dublin, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud.

And Samson Ajayi, 33, of Park Wood, Grangerath in Co Meath pleaded guilty to three money laundering charges.

Judge Martin Nolan sentenced Owolabi to three years and three months in prison.

He sentenced Ajayi to two and a half years in prison and Sadu to three years in prison.

The court heard that the fraudsters, using the fake profile, told the woman that Turner had business dealing with oil and gas off the coast of Cork.

He also told the woman that he was due to receive a large inheritanc­e.

Turner began to ask the woman for money to help him with his business. From November 2019 over a sixmonth period, she transferre­d just over €254,000 to who she believed was Turner.

The court heard how Turner asked her to go to Dubai for business as he could not travel due to his work on an oil rig, with the promise that her expenses would be reimbursed.

Following a terrifying ordeal in Dubai, after being met by a group asking for $650,000 to release $3.25million in US dollars in cash, which she did not have, she raised it with Turner.

But the woman still believed everything that she was being told.

The woman went on to

borrow a further €50,000 from a friend and gave it to Turner.

After returning from Dubai, suspicions began to creep in, and she contacted gardai.

Investigat­ors tracked the three accused down using the emails addresses and the bank accounts and went to their home addresses.

Gardai seized several laptops and mobile phones and on these devices gardai found user names and passwords for the Neil Turner profile on the Plenty of Fish website.

An email account linked to Turner was found, as well as messages outlining how the money collected should be divided up.

Judge Nolan highlighte­d that this particular type of fraud was “very wrong” and can do “damage to people” who are so embarrasse­d and humiliated they don’t want to come forward and inform the gardai.

 ?? ?? THEFT
Omowale Owolabi got 3 yrs 3 mths
THEFT Omowale Owolabi got 3 yrs 3 mths
 ?? ?? CHARGES Samson Ajayi got 2½ years jail
CHARGES Samson Ajayi got 2½ years jail
 ?? ?? FRAUD
Rasak Sadu got 3 years jail
FRAUD Rasak Sadu got 3 years jail

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