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Conman convicted over inheritance email scheme

A number of victims in the UK, US, Germany and Australia were scammed out of hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Image: Sam72 via Shutterstock

A CONMAN WHO scammed hundreds of thousands of pounds from innocent email account holders has been convicted by a English court.

Patrick Bomboi Emuh convinced people they had received windfalls – and then charged them fees of almost £800,000 to obtain the non-existent money.

The court heard that the 54-year-old had emailed at least 20 people across the UK, the US, Germany, Chile, New Zealand, Australia and Romania, telling them they had won a lottery or inherited money from a distant relative.

Having tricked his victims into believing they were in line for thousands of pounds, Emuh instructed them to pay “advance fees”, “taxes” and “handling charges” to obtain the money. In some cases, a person pretending to be a lawyer contacted victims to “help” them claim the money, charging them more money for this service.

The money was directed into a variety accounts belonging to the Greenwich local. In some other cases, Western Union cash transfers were used.

A number of those expecting a large win were coerced into travelling to the UK, where they were met by people posing as businessmen. Several were shown banks notes but were told they were contaminated. The victims were instructed to pay money up front in order for the cash to be cleaned to “legitimise” it. Police said this was “just another ruse to extract more money from them”.

The total sum of money Emuh took from his victims was £788,297.

The Metropolitan Police Service began investigating Emuh in 2006 after he was found to be carrying £10,000. Officers identified and contacted the payees of large sums of money that had been deposited in his account. All recounted the same story to Scotland Yard.

Emuh’s defence centred on a diesel oil business he claimed to own, but he was not able to provide evidence to back up his story.

He was convicted of 19 counts of acquiring criminal property and will be sentenced on 8 January 2013.

It is expected that victims will receive compensation and £60,000 has already been confiscated from Emuh.

Commenting on the case, financial investigator Doug Ferns said, “People like Emuh are driven by greed and because of the potential pay off of a con like this they will go to unbelievable lengths to convince their victim that it is genuine, as Emuh did.

“If a stranger contacts you saying you have inherited money or won a lottery and must pay fees to access your windfall, do not believe it. Call the police.”

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