US man defrauded of R200 000 in 419 scam

2013-04-12 22:01
(Picture: Shutterstock)

(Picture: Shutterstock) (Shutterstock)

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Johannesburg - Two people were arrested in Johannesburg on Friday for allegedly defrauding a US citizen of more than R200 000 in a 419 scam, the Hawks said.

A 44-year-old Nigerian man and a 20-year-old South African woman were arrested in Sandton around 14:00, spokesperson Captain Paul Ramaloko said.

The Nigerian is married to a South African woman, and the 20-year-old is believed to be his step-daughter.

The victim, 48, who was looking for business opportunities, and the Nigerian met on an online professional network.

The US man arrived in South Africa on 18 March. He gave them money when they visited him in his hotel room.

He also had his business partners in Canada and the USA transfer money to the pair via Western Union. In total he gave them over R200 000.

He suspected he was the victim of a scam and alerted police on Wednesday.

He was unable to leave the country because he had no more money left.

The two were charged with advance fee fraud, also referred to as a 419 scam.

The number 419 refers to the article of the Nigerian criminal code dealing with fraud.

Usually victims receive e-mails claiming their help, and a small fee, are needed to access large sums of money.

According to the SA Police Service's website it is currently the world’s largest scam in terms of monetary losses.

The two would appear in the Johannesburg Commercial Crime Court soon.

"We believe this is the tip of the iceberg. It is part of a bigger syndicate," Ramaloko said.

Read more on:    us  |  nigeria  |  johannesburg  |  west africa

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