Two Nigerian women who run a fraudulent dating website have scammed seven men of more than £100,000 by getting them to send her cash in exchange for a date.
Grace Akintaro, 24, pretended to be ‘Amanda Jenson’ and even spoke to at least two of her victims on the telephone, persuading them to send her money for travel and expenses ahead of romantic rendezvous.
She was helped by Victoria Nwogu, 22, who admitted laundering some of the money that Akintaro received.
It was gathered that Akintaro told Woolwich Crown Court she began the scam because she was ‘naive and used by this person I was in love with’, and admitted asking for more cash from her victims claiming she needed to pay off debts.
The men were convinced their online romances with Amanda were genuine but dates were cancelled with one excuse after another.
Akintaro, of Greenwich, pleaded guilty to seven counts of fraud between August 1, 2014, and December 2, 2015.
The same charges were dropped against Nwogu, also of Greenwich, who pleaded guilty to one count of laundering £3,490 between April 29 and May 6, 2015.
Judge Nicholas Heathcote Williams QC said: ‘Judging by what the victims say there were detrimental effects, both psychologically and financially.
‘They were expecting to get their money back, they thought they were loaning the money.’
Victims were given different set bank account details to pay larger sums and told they belonged to her mother or landlord.
Akintaro even sent fake documents that were used to provide evidence that Amanda Jenson was due to receive an inheritance from a relative and would then be able to pay the money back.
One of the victims handed over a total of more than £46,000 and another gave the fraudster money from his dead wife’s life assurance policy.
Another man took out an equity release on his house to pay her money.
One victim was told to go to a London airport to meet ‘Amanda Jenson’ who was on an inbound flight.
As he was standing outside the arrivals lounge he was called on his mobile and told she could see him waiting but had been held up by customs officials and needed more money before she could be released.
He refused to pay and went home.
Police know Akintaro visited bank branches at least sixteen times, withdrawing £23,000 of the victims’ cash.