Two Nigerian nationals, Martin Valentom, and Tony Ifeanyi have been arrested in India for allegedly duping at least 60 women of millions of rupees on matrimonial websites.
The suspects were arrested by Gurugram police from Delhi’s Duraj Vihar and Mohan Garden on Monday night, February 6, 2023.
Police said the fraud came to light when a woman from Sultanpur in Uttar Pradesh, living on rent in DLF Phase 2, lodged a police complaint on February 2, stating that she was duped of 70,000.
The Assistant Commissioner of Police, (crime), Preet Pal Sangwan, said they formed teams and started investigating the case. A man approached the victim through a matrimonial website and introduced himself as Kuma Jordan, a pilot based in Bangalore in July last year. After chatting for a few days, he told the victim that he is from France after which she stopped talking to him, he said.
The woman alleged that in July 2022, she accepted a request from a man who claimed to be from Bangalore and later shared her mobile number with him. Both of them started talking but when the woman came to know that the suspect was not from India, she stopped entertaining him. On January 1, I sent a New Year greetings message to him by mistake and we again started talking. He told me that he will visit India for a vacation and shared his air ticket, the victim said.
On January 31, the victim received a call from Mumbai airport and officials wanted to verify her credentials. They asked me to pay 55,500 for the suspects release because he was carrying a lot of Euros. I paid the amount in a bank account number given to me. After a few minutes, Jordan called me and asked me to transfer 15,000 more for flight tickets from Mumbai to Delhi and I again transferred the money. After 30 minutes, I again received a call from the airport and a woman told me to pay 95,000 as custom duty, but I refused, she said in her complaint, requesting anonymity.
The victim approached police and a case was registered against the suspect at the Cyber Crime police station under Section 419 (cheating by impersonation) and 420 (cheating) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) on February 4, said police.
Police said they tracked mobile locations and call records and arrested the suspects.
ACP Sangwan said police have received many such similar complaints.
The gang creates fake profiles on matrimonial and social networking websites and befriend people by posing as doctors and engineers. They tell the victims that they are visiting India to meet them. Later, the victims get calls from persons posing as customs officers, who claim the suspects have been caught with valuables worth lakhs of rupees and coerce the victims to pay customs duty for their release, he said.
Those impersonating as customs officials threaten the victims by claiming that the income tax and other departments would lodge a case against them and they will be arrested if they did not pay the money, ACP Sangwan added.
During interrogation, the suspects revealed that they had duped more than 60 women who had fallen prey to their fraud. They said that they have been active since April 2022, said police.
Police said they are questioning the two suspects to gather more details about their modus operandi.
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