Romance fraudster who said he lives in West Bridgford scammed woman out of £157,000

A romance fraudster who defrauded a Nottinghamshire woman out of £157,000 has been jailed.

Frank Adozi, 32, used a pseudonym to contact the woman on a dating site and on social media.

Going by the name ‘Mark McCarthy’, Adozi struck up a relationship with the victim – who was in a vulnerable position after recently splitting from her partner – and persuaded her to lend him large sums of money.

After gaining her trust, he made up a story that he worked on an oil rig and took the wrong bank card with him.

He said he urgently needed to borrow funds to cover travel expenses and send money to his daughter.

Over a two-month period, the woman made 34 transfers totaling £157,332.25 – money she expected to get back and then invest in a new home.

– Advertising –

But in May last year she discovered his lies and called the police.

Explaining what happened, the victim told officers she was attracted to the fraudster because he seemed “nice” and “genuine”. But over time, she felt compelled to send him huge sums of money after being emotionally blackmailed.

Adozi, of Kneeton Vale, Sherwood, Nottingham, was the prime suspect in the case when he was arrested by police for driving offenses on January 6, 2022.

After checking his details, he was arrested on the grounds of being an outstanding suspect for romance fraud.

Investigations, including cell phone scans, revealed he had targeted at least six other women.

Detectives contacted the six victims, four of whom revealed they had been tricked into transferring money.

Describing him as ‘soft-talking’, one victim said ‘Mark’ told him he lived in West Bridgford, near the cricket ground, and drove a Range Rover. She was scammed out of £1,930.

Another victim lost £1,430 after Adozi made up a false story that persuaded her to transfer money to him for taxi fares and flights back to the UK. Two other victims were duped out of £520 and £40 respectively.

Other potential victims have also been contacted by detectives but declined to make a statement.

Records showed Adozi spent the victims’ money on a lavish lifestyle, including designer clothes, the high-end Range Rover and large amounts of jewelry with which he planned to start a business.

Today (April 1, 2022) at Nottingham Crown Court he was jailed for four years after pleading guilty to fraud by misrepresentation.

The court heard that 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 quickly returned to his old ways, the victim who lost £157,000 told police she met ‘Mark’ on a dating site in January 2021.

His dating app profile said he was 60, from Nottingham and 6ft tall. He added that he had a master’s degree, had children, was “trying to quit smoking” and was looking for a “real relationship”.

After exchanging hundreds of messages and talking to “Mark” on the phone, the woman believed she had found romance again, only to be devastated by Adozi’s cruelty and deceit.

Her bank has since refunded less than half of the amount she was scammed.

In a witness statement, the woman revealed the depths Adozi went to in order to trick her into parting with £157,000.

He said: “He explained to me that he was born in Australia and grew up in the United States. He said that in 2005 he moved to the UK to be with his wife Lisa, who sadly passed away.

“He had a 13-year-old daughter, Tamara, who was attending boarding school in New York. He told me he was considering quitting the dating site because he was worried about attracting the wrong kind of person who would be right after his money.

“He came across as a kind, down-to-earth, genuine family man.”

The victim realized she had been scammed when the fraudster told her he was about to board a British Airways flight from Dubai to the UK. She checked the flights and found that no British Airways flights were scheduled between the two destinations.

Detective Constable Carl Miller, from the Nottinghamshire Police Fraud Investigation Team, said he was happy Adozi was now behind bars and unable to harm other women.

He said: “Adozi had no respect for his victims. He went to great lengths to build relationships and gain their trust, before fabricating stories to exploit them by the thousands.

“To have a victim lose £157,000 – the money she planned to buy a house with – makes this one of the worst romance frauds we have ever come across. This is also a unique case in that the fraudster operated from the UK rather than being based overseas.

“Fraudsters like Adozi target people in vulnerable situations and don’t care about financially ruining their victims.

“In this case, a number of victims were identified who had not contacted the police. We want to encourage anyone who thinks they’ve been the victim of romance fraud not to feel embarrassed or ashamed, but rather to report it.

“Romance fraud is a particularly ruthless offense and Nottinghamshire Police will always seek justice for victims.

“We do this because fraudsters not only inflict financial loss on their victims, but they also cause an enormous amount of emotional pain.”

Detective Sergeant Ashley Xavier praised the officers’ work in bringing Adozi to justice.

She said: “Adozi showed a cynical disregard for his victims, grooming them with romantic promises before dishonestly persuading them to provide him with financial aid.

“Through thorough and thorough investigative work and the support of individual victims, Nottinghamshire Police have put an end to Adozi’s fraudulent activities.

“Hopefully this case will serve to deter other romance fraudsters who prey on victims in the same way.”

People looking to build relationships are urged to take simple steps to protect themselves, their families and friends from romance fraud, with almost £92m reported lost in the UK the last year.

Nottinghamshire Police are advising anyone using dating sites to avoid giving out too many personal details when talking online to someone you have never met in person, as this can lead to your your being stolen. identity.

You should stay on the site’s messaging service until you meet in person; don’t be tempted to switch to other platforms that offer less protection. And most importantly, no matter how long you’ve been talking to someone online and how much you trust them, if you haven’t met them in person, don’t send them money.

If you think you have been the victim of fraud, you should report it to ActionFraud.police.uk and follow the advice of the Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign, which offers simple, unbiased advice to help people spot scams and to protect against fraud.


Source link

Comments are closed.