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Nigerian romance scammer, ‘Varun Rao’, arrested in India over N9.5m fraud



Indian security operatives have apprehended a Nigerian man for allegedly duping a woman of 18 lakh (N9.5m) after promising to marry her.

The police confirmed his arrest on Sunday, October 30.

The 50-year-old Nigerian, identified as Amuluonye Prince Felix, was arrested in Delhi by the Hyderabad City Cyber Crime Police.

Officials acted on a complaint lodged at the S.R. Nagar Police Station by the victim, who said she came across the fraudster’s profile on a matrimonial website.

In his fake profile with an assumed name, Varun Rao, the accused claimed to be a civil engineer based in the US.

According to the woman, after she posted a photo of herself on the matrimonial site, the fraudster contacted her and expressed his interest in marriage.

They then exchanged WhatsApp numbers and began to chat and make WhatsApp calls.

The fraudster informed her that he had sent her a gift parcel from the US containing electronic gadgets, US dollars and gold ornaments, police said.

Subsequently, on June 1, 2022, the victim received multiple phone calls from persons claiming to be customs officials of Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi and income tax officials, asking her to pay various taxes to release the parcel.

After paying up to 18 lakh towards income tax, money laundering tax, GST and anti-terrorism charges, the woman realised she was conned and approached the police a few months ago.

During the investigation, police found that the accused was based in Delhi, and a special team arrested the Nigerian from Greater Noida a few days ago.

“He came to India on a business visa in 2012 and continued to stay here even after his visa expired. He hatched a plan to defraud people online with the help of his friends for which he created fake profiles on different matrimonial websites, sent requests to innocent unmarried women using foreign numbers and introduced himself as if he was living abroad,” police said.

Explaining the accused’s modus operandi, police said that he used international SIM cards to commit fraud.

His victims would receive similar calls, claiming to be from government agencies, demanding money. Unsuspecting victims would send the money.

Police seized three laptops, eight mobile phones, 10 SIM cards, and two debit cards from the accused’s possession.

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