Nigerian Man Sentenced to 12 years in Prison in Cape Town for Conducting Online Dating Scam and Making R 1.2m.
The 31-year-old Nigerian citizen Ndubusi Ifediora has agreed to a plea and sentence agreement in a Bellville Specialised Commercial Crime Court for utilizing an online dating website to con two females and making R 1.2m in return.
The charges against Ndubusi Ifediora were otherwise not as easy and straightforward from investigation perspective. He has received 12 years in prison but the sentence has been suspended wholly for five years. Also, he is required to pay back the money made through the scam.
Ifediora has now been deported to Nigeria. The court was lenient while sentencing him because he had a one-year-old kid and also had sickle-cell anemia, which is an incurable disease. According to Western Cape Hawks representative Lloyd Ramovha, the department involved in the arrest and investigation of the case, the sentence was fair as Ifediora has been ordered to pay over R 500,000 as criminal asset recovery account in order to fully reimburse the victims.
According to News24 Ramovha stated that:
“The sentence is a culmination of sterling detective work put in by the team from the commercial unit of the Hawks. It is an open secret that cases of this nature are not easy to solve. We say well done to the team.”
The conned females were in their 50s and hailed from Texas, US. It was later learned that both the women sent him money and expensive gifts. Ndubusi Ifediora was jobless at the time but he entered Cape Town pretending to be a student and also had somehow obtained a degree in sociology.
The Nigerian conman was inspected for 16 counts of fraud; investigators checked electronic evidence but his SIM card was flushed down the toilet by the accused. Ndubusi Ifediora was arrested in June and admitted later that the SIM card that he discarded had incriminating evidence that could have been really valuable for the investigators. Three phones and three laptops were also confiscated by the Hawks team from his residence, an apartment located at Rochester Road, Table View.
The investigation revealed that the accused only targeted lonely women and used Match.com, an online dating website, to locate vulnerable and trusting women. There were other syndicate members involved in this scam, the identities of whom is still unknown because false identities and fake photographs were used. The photos were usually of very attractive people.
The accused’ first target was Patti Kilpatrick who befriended him last year considering that he was a widower “Michael Brich” from Germany having one son studying in Medical school. When the trust was built between them he told her that all of his expensive gadgets have been stolen after which Kilpatrick sent him an Apple computer, an iPhone, and an Apple Watch.
The next target Rita Love was contacted in March through the same website but with a new identity “Scott Egil.” The same strategy was used in this case as well as Love was told that his credit card and equipment were lost. He asked for some cash and Love transferred it.
In total, R1.24m was taken from the two women. Ifediora is also charged with conspiracy to conduct fraud and violating the Immigration Act. In court, Ifediora admitted that he used fake representations to obtain a study visa for entering the country and also lied about being enrolled in a technical college.