A man from Toronto is facing fraud charges in an alleged online romance scam where he posed as a business owner in the Middle East and convinced a 73-year-old woman to send him $250,000 in cryptocurrency.
Peel Regional Police said the 26-year-old man met the victim through an online dating website in September 2022 and began communicating daily via text and phone calls.
It’s alleged the male suspect claimed he owned an oil rig in the Middle East and urgently needed money. Police said the man promised to repay the female victim and would eventually meet in person. The pair never did meet in person and only communicated online.
Investigators noted that the victim had observed a media report about romance scams, which was when she realized that she had been the target of one. At this point, police said the victim had already sent the suspect approximately $250,000 in cryptocurrency.
On Wednesday, investigators executed a search warrant at the suspect’s residence in Toronto and arrested 26-year-old Chimezie Nwabueze. During the search, police seized high-value jewelry, a luxury automobile, and proceeds related to the offences.
The accused faces several charges, including fraud of over $5,000, two counts of possession of property obtained by crime, uttering forged documents and identity fraud.
Nwabueze was released on an undertaking and will appear in court on December 11, 2023.