Online dating scam case focuses on mysterious agent

2015-05-14 20:14

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Cape Town - The case involving an alleged online dating scam focused on Thursday on the identity of a man who demanded R21 740, wrapped as a gift, from a Chinese man who got caught up as a victim in the scam.

The victim, Kuo-Sen Liu, mistakenly believed Nigerian national Muyiwa Obafeni to have been the mysterious Dennis, who demanded the gift from him, defence attorney Howard Andrews told the Bellville Specialised Commercial Crime Court.

Obafeni, 35, has pleaded not guilty before Magistrate Sabrina Sonnenberg, to nine counts of fraud and one involving a conspiracy to commit fraud.

The trial started on Wednesday. 

Andrews said Obafeni denied that he was the mysterious Dennis. 

Liu got caught up as a victim in the scam last year, whilst surfing the internet for an online friendship that he hoped would blossom into romance.

He ended up chatting to a woman who gave her name as Joy Dlodlo, "a New Zealander caring for her ailing mother in Durban".

Joy claimed to own a house in Strand, Somerset West, and wished to visit Cape Town for a job interview and to “fix” her father’s Trust Fund.

She wished to meet Liu for coffee in Cape Town, but needed R600 for an air ticket, which Liu paid.

As their online relationship progressed, Joy offered Liu 40% of her father’s trust fund, which supposedly translated to R16m.

At this stage, a man known only as Dennis enters the picture, together with a bogus home affairs official.

Together, they falsely inform Liu that an additional R21 740 is needed to ensure Dennis’s safe travel to Joy with the trust money.

However, Liu was required to wrap the money as a gift, and to hand the parcel to Dennis’s messenger at a KFC outlet.

In Thursday’s proceedings, Andrews informed Liu that Obafeni was not Dennis himself, but a friend of his.

According to Andrews, Dennis lived in Worcester, and merely asked Obafeni to collect the gift for him.

"Dennis" disappeared after Obafeni’s arrest, never to be seen or heard from again.

The case was postponed to June 26, when the investigating officer, Sergeant Vivienne Thompson of the Milnerton police is to testify about cellphone records.

Read more on:    cape town  |  crime

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