Nigerian online fraudster lands in police net

Shaba Abdul Razak

The 34-year-old Nigerian, who claims his name is Shaba Abdul Razak, was taken into custody at the Bangalore airport on Thursday after a month-long operation with the support of the police in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Puducherry. He was brought to Kannur and arrested on Saturday after two days of interrogation.

Disclosing this to newspersons in Kannur on Saturday, Inspector General of Police Tomin Thachankary said the racket had extracted at least Rs 3 crore from victims belonging to these states. Razak was arrested following investigations into a complaint lodged by Shareef, a non-resident Keralite working in Qatar and hailing from Valapattanam in Kannur.

The scam originated in an email message received by Shareef in February 2008 from a mail ID purportedly from the Bank of Africa. The sender informed Shareef that he had been chosen to inherit a fortune of $15 million left by a millionaire and that he should reach the African city of Burkina Faso to receive it.

When Shareef pleaded his inability to make the trip, he got a reply saying that a financial attorney had been appointed to oversee the transfer of the amount. A few email exchanges were enough for the fraudsters to win the confidence of Shareef and he was asked to send 29,500 euros through the Western Union Money Transfer as attorney fee.

According to Thachankary, Shareef sent them up to 80,000 euros from time to time believing the excuses they offered every time.

Two members of the racket, including Razak, even came to Shareef’s house with bundles of blackened US dollars and said this was done to avoid being caught by the customs officials. It was only then that Shareef grew suspicious and registered a complaint.

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