Nigerian man held Rs 2 cr fraud

A woman belonging to an Assam-based political family was duped of Rs 2 crore over the past several months by an international gang of cheats. While no cash has been recovered yet, police have arrested a Nigerian national and recovered a few electronic items believed to be purchased from the cheated amount.

The gang included people from Nigeria as well as India. Indians were mostly used to make phone calls to the suspect and lure them into paying up, police said in a press release on Sunday. Police suspect there are more people victimised by this gang, but only one person has lodged a complaint.

A senior police officer told Deccan Herald that the woman belonged to a “political family” in Guwahati and was living in Delhi for sometimes. However, police refused to identify the woman or her family any further. The suspects had begun the process of duping her by first befriending her on Facebook for a few weeks.

Then on November 2, 2013, a woman claiming to be an Assistant Registration Officer (Customs) made a phone call to her to inform that one Michael – whom the victim had befriended on Facebook – had been detained at the IGI Airport for possessing diamond jewellery and excessive cash for which he did not possess some “anti-terrorism certificate”.

The victim coughed up about Rs 2 lakh to save him, but received another call the next day that Michael had refused to take back the cash and jewellery.

“The caller told her that she could collect it all from the customs department on depositing some money in another account,” said police. She deposited the money and more different accounts, but could not recover any of the promised cash and jewellery.

Again on February 24 last year, she received a call on Michael’s behalf asking her to visit Bengaluru if she wanted if she wanted to make some quick money. At a hotel there, the caller Egobia Bobby showed her some black strips and said that if washed with a particular expensive liquid, the strips would turn into US dollars.

The woman coughed up more money. Soon she received another call informing her that the trick of converting the strips into dollars was discovered by the CBI at Kolkata Airport, and Rs 95 lakh would be required to get off CBI’s hook. With that, she had already paid Rs 2 crore in all.

She realised she was being duped all this while when Bobby arrived in India in January this year and demanded more money.

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