Winchester: Dating Site Scam Gang Jailed
17 October 2014, 18:02 | Updated: 17 October 2014, 19:01
Four men involved a dating site scam have been sent to jail for a total of nearly 14 years between them.
The gang, all in their 20s, set up a fake profile on Match.com to con women out of thousands of pounds - one handed over £174,000.
Emmanuel Oko, who is 29 and from Southsea, was given concurrent eight and four year sentences after pleading guilty to conspiracy to defraud and money laundering.
28-year-old Chukwuka Ugwu, also from Southsea, was given a 46-week jail term for admitting money laundering.
Monty Emu, who is 28 and from Southsea was sent to prison for three and a half years, while 27-year-old Adewunmi Nusi from Hermitage, Berks was given 18 months behind bars after they were both found guilty of money laundering.
Winchester Crown Court heard the four were part of a gang which used dating site 'match.com' to defraud women who responded to an 'attractive middle-aged man' called James Richards who claimed to be about to inherit £100m from a relative in India but required legal fees of up to £100k from various women.
Following sentencing on Friday 17 Oct, Match.com issued this statement:
“The result today is a positive one. Sadly, there is a tiny minority of people who set out to exploit others, and while this is not confined to dating sites or even the internet, those who do should be convicted for their crimes as they were today.
"Our member’s safety is of the utmost importance to us and the dating industry as a whole and we fully support the stand the Online Dating Association is taking on the issue. We are committed to doing more to help educate consumers about how to approach online dating safely and guide them on how to look after themselves online.”
The Online Dating Association also released their Date Safe message:
“There is no place in online dating for those who are there to con or harm others. We are committed to keeping online dating safe. We are delighted to see the courts step-up with prosecutions and convictions as in Winchester.
“But the industry cannot be complacent. We have set new standards. We are exploring new technologies and will be working together more closely with the police and others to achieve this goal. The public too have a role to play – staying smart to protect themselves and telling if things do go wrong.”