Romance Scam: Police arrest 21-year-old model for duping German of N101m

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Cynthia Atuonah, 21, was detained by the Police Special Fraud Unit (PSFU) in Ikoyi, Lagos, for allegedly defrauding a German of $220,000 (N101 million) in a romance scam.

SP Eyitayo Johnson, spokesperson for the police fraud unit, alleged in Lagos on Wednesday that the suspect, who purported to be a model and owner of a massage facility called “The-Chi-Place,” attracted the victim on Instagram.

“The suspect, a 2019 graduate of Economics, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, lured the 50-year-old victim on Instagram by feigning romantic intentions towards him, thereby gaining the victim’s trust and goodwill.

“She promised to marry the victim, invited him to Nigeria for visits on several occasions and convinced him to emigrate to Nigeria so they could live together as husband and wife.

“In a ploy to dispel suspicion, the victim was made to meet with Atuonah’s parents at Ikot-Abasi, Akwa Ibom, where he received their blessings to marry the suspect,” Mr Johnson said.

Ms Atuonah allegedly encouraged the victim to sell his house in Stuttgart and transfer the proceeds and his life savings to her Fidelity Bank account.

“The purpose of the money was to buy a house in Nigeria where they will both live as husband and wife as well as to establish a joint business outfit as indicated in the bank transfer narration,’’ he stated.

Mr Johnson went on to say that the suspect admitted that the victim sent $220,000 to her account.

“She said part of the proceeds was used to buy a two-bedroom terrace apartment at Zara Estate, Ikota Villa, Lekki Phase II.

“Some of the money was also used to support her mother’s business and to pay the medical bills of her father, according to her,’’ he stated.

Mr Johnson also indicated that efforts were being made to collect other criminal proceeds.

He further stated that the suspect would be charged in court once the inquiry was completed.

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