Plenty of Fish £100k fraud victim strings conman along for two months

first_imgAjibola Daudu said ‘I deserve to lose everything for what I did’ to his victimCredit:Cascade She said that they were the actions of “evil people” and that she was “totally embarrassed, humiliated and ashamed”.She “met” a man on the day she joined Plenty of Fish in February 2015, the court heard. The man claimed to be an intelligence agent and said his father had died in Dubai.But there were complications with the paperwork needed to release his inheritance, he told her. Mrs Hawes agreed to pay £2,700 to allow John to travel to Dubai.She then travelled there herself and was told she would need to pay another £10,000 for an anti-money laundering certificate, which she did. Show more I can’t believe this has happened to me. It all sounds so unbelievableLynn Hawes During that time, Mrs Hawes fell in love with one of the conmen, who then disappeared, and had an intimate relationship with another, Ajibola Daudu, a court heard.After accepting that she was being conned, Mrs Hawes strung Daudu along and arranged a meeting at which he was arrested.Daudu, 43, of Purfleet, Essex, who was facing trial on one count of fraud, pleaded guilty at Chester Crown Court and was sentenced to 45 months in jail.Judge Nicolas Woodward told Daudu that he had carried out a “deliberate and shameless betrayal”. Two other men involved in the scam remain at large, the court heard.Mrs Hawes, who had been flown to Dubai and shown a suitcase said to contain the £7m in cash, told the court in a victim impact statement that her search for companionship had been “exposed in the most cruel manner”.”They made me feel so special and so loved,” she said. “I can’t believe this has happened to me. It all sounds so unbelievable.” Daudu then told her they would need more money to exchange the cash from dollars to pounds. She sold some jewellery and borrowed £10,000 from a friend and handed him £12,000 in cash at an hotel in London in June 2016.Daudu the persuaded to hand over a further £9,000, secured by a bank loan, “because Brexit had increased the price of a currency conversion certificate”.It was at this point that she became suspicious and spoke to police. Daudu then said he needed another £27,500. She arranged a meeting in London and officers arrested him.The court heard that, in total, Mrs Hawes lost £100,000 in money she handed over and interest on loans. But a basis of plea which was put forward by Daudu, and accepted by the prosecution, said that he had received no more than £26,000.Defending, Jide Lanlehin said that Daudu wanted to apologise to Mrs Hawes and he “wished he had the courage at an earlier stage to tell her finally about what was going on”. Ajibola Daudu Mr Lanlehin said that Daudu had three children with an ex-partner who he regularly sees and had a law degree.Daudu, who had spent the entire hearing with his head in his hands, shouted to the court “I deserve to lose everything for what I did to her” and started sobbing loudly. A lovestruck woman who lost £100,000 in an elaborate con by online fraudsters strung one of the scammers along for two months to help police catch him.Lynn Hawes was targeted in what was described as a “planned, complicated, sophisticated and systematic” sting after joining the Plenty of Fish dating website.She handed over cash, sold jewellery, took out a bank loan and borrowed money from a friend to help one of the conmen in unlocking what she was told was a £7million inheritance in Dubai.However, it was part of a sophisticated scam that was played out over almost 18 months and left her “exposed in the most cruel manner”. But Mrs Hawes said she did not believe Daudu was remorseful, adding: “I’ve seen those tears before. He can put on an act. He has no remorse in my eyes.”She said: “It was just like a movie. There was at least six to seven people. They had everything, all the props. I felt it was 100 per cent genuine.”Jailing him, Judge Nicolas Woodward described the offence as a “deliberate and shameless betrayal”. Police praised the courage of Mrs Hawes, who continued to speak to Daudu for nearly two months after her suspicious were raised that she was being conned. She helped set up a meeting with him where he was arrested by police.Sgt Kev Green, from Cheshire Police, said: “Daudu failed to recognise the courage and determination of his victim, who once she realised was being scammed, was instrumental in his location and arrest.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more