Romance fraudster conned women out thousands and splurged cash in Glasgow shops

A romance fraudster conned hundreds of women out of thousands of pounds, including one terminally ill woman – and spent the proceeds in shops in Glasgow and elsewhere across the UK.

Osagie Aigbonohan, 40, originally from Lagos, Nigeria, used a number of aliases to contact women online through dating and social media sites, and in one case cheated a woman out of nearly £10,000.

Using the name ‘Tony Eden’, Aigbonohan struck up a ten-month relationship with the victim last year via a dating site and persuaded her to lend him money to buy machinery for his business overseas.

The victim made nine transfers into various accounts held under fake identities, with the money eventually making its way into a personal account held by Aigbonohan, which he used for everyday spending.

Data from his phone showed that he also received money from at least eight other victims and had been in contact with over 670 people in total.

One of the women targeted was terminally ill, with Aigbonohan continuing to pursue her even after she had passed away.

Officers from the National Crime Agency (NCA) arrested Aigbonohan in July 2021.

He was found to be carrying a false driver’s license at the time and had no legal right to be in the UK, having overstayed his visa from two years ago.

Records showed that despite living in Abbey Wood, London, he’d spent victim’s money in locations across London, Manchester and Glasgow.

Following his arrest officer’s conducted a search of his home address where they found footwear he’d purchased with store vouchers that could be linked back to one of the victims.

Aigbonohan appeared before Southwark Crown Court yesterday, 3 December, where he pleaded guilty to charges relating to fraud and money laundering.

He will remain in custody until he is sentenced at the same court on 14 January 2022.

The NCA has welcomed his guilty plea following a protracted investigation.

Dominic Mugan, NCA operations manager, said: “Romance fraud is a particularly cruel crime that impacts victims both emotionally and financially, with victims often feeling like they’re the ones to blame.

“Aigbonohan showed total disregard for the victims in this case and was happy to commit further fraud by moving money between various fraudulently held accounts.

“It’s possible that he contacted more people than we know about, if you think you may have been a victim, or may be a victim in a similar case, we would urge you to report the details to Action Fraud.”

The NCA advise anyone using dating websites to avoid giving away too many personal details when speaking online to someone you’ve never met in person, as it can lead to your identity being stolen.

A spokesperson for the agency added: “No matter how long you’ve been speaking to someone online and how much you trust them, if you haven’t met them in person do not send them any money.”

Suspected fraud can be reported via the Action Fraud website.

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