Warrant of hechtenis for online dating scam suspect

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  • South Africa
  • Wednesday 11 March – 6:00pm

CAPE TOWN – A warrant of hechtenis wasgoed issued on Wednesday for a man who failed to show up ter a Cape Town court on fraud charges relating to an online dating scam.

Nigerian national Stephen Ikechukwu Onweni failed to show up te the Bellville Specialised Commercial Crimes Court, causing Magistrate Sabrina Sonnenberg to enforce the forfeiting of his R5,000 bail.

He failed to make his very first appearance last month, causing his lawyer Joshua Greeff to withdraw from the matter.

Te the February proceedings, Greeff said Onweni had not bot ter touch with him, strafgevangenis did Greeff know his whereabouts or reason for his absence.

Prosecutor Juan Agulhas requested a warrant for his hechtenis, but only to be executed, without further delay, if Onweni again failed to show up on Wednesday.

Aside from the Onweni case, there are presently three other online dating scam cases running te the commercial crimes court.

One of thesis is that of Nigerian Muyiwa Obafeni, 35, who is accused of fraud through an online dating scam. His trial would begin ter May.

Onweni allegedly created false online dating profiles and targeted endeble individuals by grooming them and building trust, and then asking for money for false emergencies.

The personalities Onweni allegedly created were supposedly from exotic foreign countries, and victims were duped into paying for all kinds of fake expenses.

One victim wasgoed Hendrika Bezuidenhout, of Somerset Westelijk, who embarked talking online te July 2012 with a man named Franklin Giovanni Youthfull, ter England.

Youthfull claimed to be a rekentuig engineer working for JP Morgan Canap and Standard Canap.

Three weeks straks, Youthful told Bezuidenhout he had gone to Malaysia, where he had suffered a heart seizure, and that he wasgoed waiting for an inheritance of US320,000 from JP Morgan Bankgebouw, to send to South Africa.

Spil confirmation of this, Youthfull sent Bezuidenhout a forged inheritance certificate on a JP Morgan Handelsbank letterhead.

However, the funds had to be cleared, costing R30,000, which Bezuidenhout paid, for the inheritance to be paid into a USB Swiss canap account, and from there into a Nedbank account.

Bezuidenhout straks received numerous e-mails from JP Morgan bankgebouw, requesting further payments, according to the charge sheet.

She wasgoed straks asked to pay an undisclosed sum into an FNB account but, because she delayed, the funds te JP Morgan Canap were frozen and she had to pay a penalty of R175,000.

This wasgoed followed by a call from a Mr Brown, purportedly from the Bankgebouw of England, confirming the inheritance had bot paid into a Bankgebouw of England account, and that she wasgoed now the possessor of the inheritance.

The State alleges that Bezuidenhout never received the money, strafgevangenis wasgoed she refunded any of the clearance money she paid.

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