Oh, Cashanova! Romantic conman took £300k from single women

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A GHANAIAN conman who swindled more than £300,000 out of single women by convincing them that an American marine wanted their hand in marriage has been jailed for six years.

Robinson Agbonifoayetan, an engineer from Welling in Bexley, posed as a diplomat called Christopher Williams using a forged United Nations diplomatic card. He then led two victims to believe that a suspect posing as “General James Krulak” and “General James Raul” wanted to move to the UK and marry them.

The 32-year-old told the unsuspecting women that the solider needed their help to transfer his retirement fund – a box of money given to him by a family in Afghanistan – from Greece.

He asked them to pay fees for its transfer on the basis that they would be reimbursed once it was in the UK.

He, and an as yet unidentified suspect, met the two women in London a number of times, to collect some of the fees.

One of the victims – a woman in her 60s, from Ealing – paid around £260,000 over the course of six months after she was contacted by “General Krulak” via Skype.

A suspect posing as the general sent her photos of a soldier – supposedly him – and quickly built a rapport with her.

He insisted on speaking to her several times a day, paying her countless compliments and seemingly confiding in her about tragic family events, like his parents and sister dying in a car crash.

Within days he talked of marrying her and introduced the idea of a box containing $8.5million, which he said he had been gifted by a family while serving in Afghanistan after he saved their lives.

He talked the victim into paying large fees for the transportation and protection of the box into bank accounts based in Ghana, before she met with Agbonifoayetan.

The victim used up her life savings, pawned jewellery, sold her car and took out loans to pay the spiralling costs before reporting her situation to police.

Detectives from the Met’s fraud and cyber crime unit FALCON began investigating after the woman took the courageous step of coming forward. They arrested Agbonifoayetan at Heathrow airport on 17 December 2014, as he tried to leave the country on a flight to Nigeria.

Enquiries uncovered the second victim, a woman in her 50s from Devon, who was sold a similar line by “General James Raul” and handed over £22,000. Detectives are now seeking a compensation order to help the victims’ recoup some of their money.

Agbonifoayetan was sentenced for two counts of fraud by false representation after he admitted personally to defrauding women of almost £42,000 of the overall cash.

Enquiries to identify other suspects involved in the scam continue.

Police believe that others may still be being scammed by Agbonifoayetan’s associates and are appealing for anyone who has been a victim of this scam or a similar version to call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or, if the crime is in action, call police on 999.

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