THREE PERSONS, including a Nigerian couple, have been arrested for allegedly befriending a 57-year-old woman from Mahim on Facebook and duping her of Rs 74.2 lakh. The accused, Navi Mumbai residents Ashok Borade (40) and a couple, Amra Obesoque (32) and Khristabel Libeh (30), were arrested on Friday. The three, booked under IPC and IT Act, have been remanded in police custody.
The police said that in December 2017, the woman received a friend request from one Donald Tod, claiming to be a marine engineer from the US. For the next few months, the complainant kept on communicating with Tod on social media and went on to share her contact number.
In early 2018, ‘Tod’ told the woman that he had sent her a parcel, which has been intercepted at the airport by the custom officials. He asked for money to get back the parcel, containing gold, silver and cash. “The woman helped him financially as Tod promised to return her money with interest,” said a police officer.
Under similar pretenses, ‘Tod’ kept demanding money from the woman. He also claimed that he would send her £ 20,000 and sponsor her stay and flight tickets to the US. The woman fell for his claims and kept transferring money, said police. In June 2018, the conman started ignoring her calls. “By then it was too late… she had already transferred Rs 74.2 lakh,” said a police officer. The woman then approached Mahim police. The case was later transferred to the cyber cell of the crime branch.
In the hunt for leads, the investigators started scrutinising the 30 bank accounts in which the woman had transferred the money at different intervals. “We learnt that the accounts were opened using documents of unknown people procured fraudulently. These accounts belonged to people residing in Hyderabad, New Delhi and Mizoram… they were clueless when contacted,” said the officer.
During the course of investigation, the police found that one account belonged to Ashok Borade, a resident of Navi Mumbai. Borade, a rickshaw driver, was brought in for questioning. “He confessed to the crime and said that he had given details of his bank account to a Nigerian couple. They used his account and gave him commission for each transaction,” said the officer.
The couple was also traced to Navi Mumbai. A police team visited their residence at Ulve and arrested Amra Obesoque and his wife Khristabel Libeh. “As many as 13 mobile phones, a modem, a router and a laptop were seized from their residence. They confessed that they have duped people from Pune as well,” said the officer.