A romance conman used dating sites to dupe women out of cash – conning one victim for a staggering £157k. Frank Adozi, 32, tricked the “vulnerable” woman by claiming he was working on an oil rig and he had taken the wrong bank card with him.
The swindler would use his ill-gotten gains to fund an exotic lifestyle, buying designer clothes, a high-end Range Rover and large amounts of jewellery. He used a fake profile on a dating website and presented himself as a middle-aged man called Michael McCarthy, police said.
Azozi, of Sherwood, Nottingham, was jailed at the city’s crown court on Friday for four years after pleading guilty to false representation. One victim, who was in a vulnerable position after a recent split from her partner, was contacted and scammed out of the vast amount of money over a two-month period.
In this time frame, the woman made 34 transactions that totalled £157,352.25 – money that she expected him to return so that she could buy a house. She rumbled Adozi’s organised operation in May 2021 and reported him to police, saying he seemed ‘nice’ and ‘genuine’ but that she was emotionally blackmailed into sending large amounts of money.
Adozi was arrested after officers noticed he was a wanted fraudster during a traffic stop on January 6, 2022. His mobile phone was analysed and it was found that he had targeted at least six other women, conning them out of nearly £3,000 combined.
In a witness statement, the woman revealed the depths Adozi went to in order to trick her into parting with £157,000. It read: “He explained to me he was born in Australia and grew up in the United States. He said in 2005 he relocated to the UK to be with his wife Lisa who had now sadly died.
“He had a 13-year-old daughter Tamara who was attending a boarding school in New York. He told me he was thinking of leaving the dating site as he was worried about attracting the wrong kind of person who would just be after his money.
“He came across as a nice family man who was down-to-earth and genuine.”
Adozi was a prolific fraudster who had previously been jailed for four-and-a-half years for similar offences – he was released from prison in 2020 but soon returned to his old ways. On his dating profile, he described himself as 6ft tall, from Nottingham and 60. He added that he had a master’s degree and was looking for a ‘real relationship’.
Adozi was rumbled after making an error over flight times. He claimed he was catching a flight from Dubai to the UK but there were no flights available at the time.
Det Con Carl Miller, of Nottinghamshire Police’s fraud investigation team, said he was pleased Adozi is now behind bars and unable to harm further women. He said: “Adozi had no regard for his victims. He went to great lengths to build rapport and gain their trust, before fabricating stories to exploit them out of thousands.
“The fact that one victim lost £157,000 – money she planned to buy a house with – makes this one of the worst romance frauds we’ve ever come across. It is also a unique case in that the fraudster operated from the UK as opposed to being based overseas.
“Fraudsters like Adozi target people in vulnerable situations and have no care that they may financially ruin their victims. In this case, a number of victims were identified who had not contacted police. We want to encourage all those who think they’ve been a victim of romance fraud to not feel embarrassed or ashamed but rather report it.
“Romance fraud is a particularly callous offence and Nottinghamshire Police will always seek to get justice for victims. We do this because not only do fraudsters inflict financial loss on their victims, they also cause an enormous amount of emotional hurt and pain.”
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