SA charity nails Nigerian scammers

Johannesburg - Two Nigerians who scammed a South African charity for burned children will appear in an Italian court on Wednesday on fraud charges, the Children of Fire NGO said on Saturday.

Children of Fire director, Bronwen Jones, and burn victim, 11-year-old Sizwe Hlope, will travel to Vercelli, in northern Italy, on Sunday for the court appearance of the two scammers.

Jones said the Nigerians stole an online photo essay on the NGO by John Moore of Getty Images to ask unsuspecting people for donations in 2009.

The money was to be deposited in two Italian bank accounts used by the Nigerians.

Jones laid fraud charges at the Brixton police station in South Africa and alerted the head of NGOs in Italy. Eventually Interpol and the Italian embassy in South Africa became involved and the Nigerians' Italian address, linked to the bank accounts, was raided and they were arrested.

"We want to put a face to these people who try, every day, to get money out of unsuspecting people on the internet," she said.

Sizwe was one of the children featured in the stolen photo essay.

"He is going to court to face down these people who have used his image and the images of 18 other children to encourage innocent people to deposit money in their bank accounts," said Jones.

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