Three Nigerians have bagged various jail terms for conning a 66-year-old woman out of her €282,000 life savings in Ireland.
Omowale Owolabi, 31, Raak Sami Sadu, 32 and 33-year-old Samson Ajayi were convicted and sentenced by a Dublin Circuit Criminal Court on Thursday, July 28.
IrishTimes reports that the trio 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.
The court heard that the woman met a man calling himself Neil Turner on a dating website in November 2019. The two began to message each other romantically, and more than 800 pages of messages were downloaded by gardaí.
The [email protected], using the fake profile, told the woman that Turner had business dealings with oil and gas off the coast of Cork. He also told the woman that he was due to receive a large inheritance.
He began to ask the woman for money to help him with his business. In November 2019, she transferred the first of 10 payments to Turner. Over the course of six months, she transferred just over €254,000 to the fake persona.
Investigators tracked the three accused down using the emails addresses and the bank accounts and went to their home addresses. Gardaí seized several laptops and mobile phones and on these devices gardaí found usernames and passwords for the Turner profile on the dating website.
In addition, a Mercedes car valued at €16,000 and a Rolex watch, which Owolabi said he bought for €25,000, were seized by gardaí. The watch was appraised and valued at €10,000.
Owolabi pleaded guilty to theft, Sadu pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit [email protected], and Ajayi 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.