A Cape Town man who preyed on multiple victims by playing the “lonely hearts” card has finally been brought to justice, although it took some intervention from our friends in America – namely, the FBI – to finally nab the architect behind an online dating scam.
FBI sting Cape Town fraudster
The suspect has already appeared in court on Monday, facing charges of fraud and money laundering. The SA Police Service (SAPS) has decided not to name the defendant, in a statement released earlier in the day. His sophisticated scheme managed to dupe a few wishful thinkers, but his luck eventually ran out this month.
A joint operation by the Hawks’ Serious Commercial Crime Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) worked in conjunction with those who had been scammed. They provided their details and conversations with the perpetrator to the authorities, who were able to arrest the suspected fraudster on Friday.
Online dating scam exposed by Hawks, FBI
SAPS were ultimately beaming with the bust, hailing the co-operative progress made by both South African and American law enforcement. It’s understood that this calculated criminal was able to make over R4 million from the “romantic partners” he had tried to lure in, asking them for business loans in the process:
“The Hawks and the FBI linked the suspect to over R4.1 million transferred to a South African based company owned by the suspect. The 48-year-old man accused of defrauding his victims through an online dating scam.”
“It is alleged that the suspect lured mostly USA based victims from a dating site. After building a certain level of trust the victims were tricked into paying the suspect for apparent business-related challenges in the guise that the money was going to be paid back.”
Cape Town, Durban residents targeted by online scams
South Africans are being urged to keep their personal details to themselves when talking to strangers online. This case follows a shocking example of extortion which was reported in Durban last week: A syndicate used operatives to gain the trust of potential romantic partners, before threatening to make their nude pictures public.
The group managed to secure hefty payments from their victims and continued to harass them at work and online for even more money. Authorities are still working to determine who’s involved in this ring.