Jail for a prolific romance fraudster who stole dumb lonely hearts
To his victims, he was “Tony Eden”, a middle-aged white man seeking online romance while working overseas for a drilling company.
In reality, it was a school janitor named Osagie Aigbonohan. Originally from Lagos, Nigeria, he was part of a criminal gang with ties to the notorious Black Axes Group.
Southwark Crown Court in London sentenced Aigbonohan, 41, to 28 months in prison after hearing how he defrauded several women of thousands of pounds and targeted hundreds more.
As the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) describe, Aigbonohan used a fake name to meet women on dating sites and befriend them.
As online relationships developed over several months, ‘Tony Eden’ told a sobering tale of how a horrific accident at the drilling site left people dead – and he had no more life. money to pay for the funeral of the victims. He claimed he needed funds to rent new equipment while waiting for insurance to be paid.
“Tony” explained that the financial aid would also allow him to return to the UK and continue the romantic relationship in person.
At least nine women fell for the scam, according to the date extracted from Aigbonohan’s phone, allowing the fraudster to trick at least four of his identified victims into handing over a total of around £20,000.
In one case, Aigbonohan’s victim was terminally ill and police found evidence that the cold-hearted fraudster continued to pursue her for money even after her death.
“Romance fraud is a particularly cruel crime that affects victims both emotionally and financially, with victims often feeling like they have only the blame,” NCA director of operations Dominic Mugan said. “Aigbonohan showed complete disregard for the victims in this case and was happy to commit further fraud by transferring money between various fraudulently held accounts.”
Those who fear being scammed by a romance scammer are requested to report the details to Action Fraud.
Of course, if you sincerely believe you’ve found true love, you might very well be more vulnerable — and less willing to take notice of suspicious behavior and warning signs.
Family members and friends can play an important role in helping vulnerable people think twice before giving money to someone who fell in love with them on a dating site.
With so many people scouring the internet in search of a meaningful relationship, there is a seemingly endless supply of potential victims and many uncaring criminals who are all too willing to take advantage.
Editor’s note: The opinions expressed in this guest author article are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect those of Tripwire, Inc.