The Mumbai police have arrested two Nigerian men who duped at least 12 women on matrimonial sites of over Rs 2 crore after promising to marry them.
One of the victims is a 48-year old senior vice-president of a multiplex giant, who was cheated of Rs 1.01 crore. This is the second big racket run by foreign nationals that the police have busted in a fortnight.
Acting on the complaint of the senior VP, a Dahisar resident, who met the commissioner of police after she was cheated, officers from crime branch unit 11 arrested Charles Tem Ozone warpuak, 30, and Ifenyi Odoh, 29, on October 13. The two had been operating from a rented flat in Malwani.
Crime branch officials said that besides cheating women on matrimonial sites in Mumbai, Bangalore, Kolkata and Chennai, the alleged con men are also suspected of having duped dozens of job-seekers across India.
The suspects would allegedly contact young people across the country after obtaining their details from job-search websites. They would send emails promising them high-paying jobs abroad and ask them to deposit money in certain accounts to complete the appointment procedure. This was revealed when, during the probe, a bank account was found to have been used in both types of scams.
Explaining how the racket was conducted, joint commissioner of police (crime) Atulchandra Kulkarni said, “The accused created a fake profile on popular matrimonial sites, posing as a British national of Indian origin. The profile they created was impressive, with a picture of a good-looking man. Using this, they befriended the 48-year-old complainant.”
The accused later communicated with the victim on other social networking sites and mobile messaging apps. Promising to marry her, they got her to deposit money in six or seven bank accounts and even hand over cash under various pretexts, Kulkarni said. By the time the woman realised it was a con, she had already given them Rs 1.01 crore. She had even taken a loan of Rs 50 lakh to keep paying them, the police said.
Inspector Chimaji Adhav of crime branch unit 11 and his team caught the suspects red-handed while they were cheating another victim. “The accused would first establish a good rapport with their victims before luring them into emotional traps and duping them over five to six months,” said deputy commissioner of police (detection-1) Dr Mohan Dahikar.
ACP Sunil Deshmukh said, “We are obtaining details of the bank accounts used by the accused and more arrests are likely.” The police have recovered 10 mobile phones, 19 SIM cards – including six international ones – six data cards and four laptops from the accused, who are allegedly in the country illegally. They have been charged with cheating, criminal conspiracy, forgery and identity theft and remanded in police custody until October 19.