- Five people have been accused of defrauding people they met and targeted on dating websites.
- The accused are facing more than 140 charges of fraud and money laundering.
- In one instance, one of the accused allegedly defrauded a woman of more than R3 million.
A 47-year-old man and his four accomplices have been accused of defrauding a woman he met on a dating website of more than R3 million in the Northern Cape.
Pius Emokpe appeared in the Kimberley Magistrate's Court on Thursday, alongside his four co-accused, Lulama Dilimini, Shafwaan Fakier, Nomcebo Agrineth Sibisi and Juany Michaels.
According to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), the three women and two men are accused of being part of a syndicate that targets and defrauds unsuspecting victims of their money.
"The accused operated a scam where they would create false online dating profiles and target vulnerable individuals by grooming them, building trust, and later requesting money for ostensible emergencies," said NPA spokesperson Mojalefa Senokoatsane.
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The accused have been charged with more than 140 counts of fraud and money laundering.
Meanwhile, Emokpe has been accused of defrauding a woman he met on a social media platform of more than R3.4 million.
"The accused, who was using a false name, informed his victim that he was a biologist, employed by a South African company. The accused was arrested by the police after the victim opened a case."
Four of the accused were arrested in Cape Town by the Hawks.
The matter has been postponed to 2 February for bail information and a possible bail application.