Romance scammers jailed for 14 years for £25 million fraud

Sarah Coles
Pair jailed for money laundering for scammers
Pair jailed for money laundering for scammers

Emmanuel Adanemhen, a 50-year-old asylum seeker living in Kent - and his brother-in-law Eduwu Obasuyi (40) living in East Dulwich - have been jailed for a total of over 14 years, for their part in a massive crime gang. The gang carried out £25 million worth of scams in 55 countries - including cruel dating frauds.

Romance scams formed part of the gang's activities, where they contacted women on sites around the world and convinced them to send money - often to pay for tickets so they could come to visit. Of course, after the money was sent, the men disappeared.

In addition, they were involved in a number of what's known as 'advance fee frauds'. These take the form of anything where people are promised something they desperately want, in return for an up-front fee. This can include anything from a fake lottery win to a fraudulent inheritance scam.
Victims parted with hundreds of thousands of pounds, with many being conned over a number of years. They included one pensioner from Florida, who lost $2.9 million.

The investigation

The scams came to light after they were reported by a number of the victims. Police then traced some of them back to Obasuyi's accounts - which were being used to launder stolen money. They said: "Forensic examination of numerous bank accounts opened by him in various names revealed a much larger picture of laundering funds." They raided his home, where they found documents in other names, which had been used to open other accounts for laundering.

The search also led them to Adanemhen, who had changed his name by deed poll to that of a dead Portuguese man - and opened bank accounts in that name in order to launder money from frauds (he had also married his wife in that name so she could secure UK residency).

Between them, both men put £4 million through their bank accounts. Detective Constable Paul Walker, from the Kent and Essex serious crime directorate, said: "This was a highly sophisticated criminal enterprise with Emmanuel Adanemhen and Eduwu Obasuyi at the heart of operations."

He added: "'With assistance from law enforcement agencies and departments across the globe we obtained extremely strong evidence that eventually left both defendants with no option but to plead guilty. Both came to the UK seeking asylum and both abused the hospitality and the benefits that go hand in hand with obtaining refuge in the UK."

Protect yourself

Walker stressed: "With the threat of cybercrime ever prevalent it is all too easy for criminal gangs to launch complex and untraceable frauds and I would always urge people to dismiss and delete emails from unknown sources. If the sender is claiming to offer something that is too good to be true it generally is. Don't ever be tempted to reply to find out more as this often results in being bombarded with fake documents, often plunging the potential victims into a spiralling web of despair as more and more pressure is heaped upon them."

Online Romance Scams Draining Seniors' Bank Accounts
Online Romance Scams Draining Seniors' Bank Accounts