The Police Special Fraud Unit (PSFU), Ikoyi, Lagos, arrested Cynthia Atuonah, 21, over a romance scam in which she allegedly duped a German of $220,000 (N101 million).
Spokesperson of PSFU, SP Eyitayo Johnson, stated in Lagos on Wednesday that the suspect, who claimed to be a model and owner of a massage spa known as “The-Chi-Place,” lured the victim on Instagram.
“The suspect, a 2019 graduate of Economics of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, lured the 50-year-old victim on Instagram by feigning romantic intentions towards him, thereby gaining the victim’s trust and goodwill.
She promised to marry the victim, invited him to Nigeria for visits on several occasions, and convinced him to emigrate to Nigeria so they could live together as husband and wife.
“In a ploy to dispel suspicion, the victim was made to meet with Atuonah’s parents at Ikot-Abasi, Akwa Ibom, where he received their blessings to marry the suspect.
The suspect persuaded the victim to return to Germany to sell his house in Stuttgart and forward the proceeds of the sale together with his pensions and life savings to her domiciliary account at Fidelity Bank Plc.
“The purpose of the money was to buy a house in Nigeria where they will both live as husband and wife, as well as to establish a joint business outfit as indicated in the bank transfer narration,’’ he stated.
Johnson added that the suspect admitted that $220,000 was transferred to her account by the victim.
“She said part of the proceeds was used to buy a two-bedroom terrace apartment at Zara Estate, Ikota Villa, Lekki Phase II.
“Some of the money was also used to support her mother’s business and to pay the medical bills of her father, according to her,” he stated.
Johnson stated also that efforts are ongoing to recover other proceeds of the crime.
He added that Cynthia would be charged in court as soon as the investigation is concluded.