R1.2m online love 'fraudsters' face a battle for bail
The state is set to oppose bail for a couple who allegedly defrauded women of more than R1-million through an online dating scam.
Chinonso Pascal Eze‚ 33‚ and Pamella Mendrew‚ 26‚ appeared in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday on fraud charges.
The purpose of the hearing was to give the couple an opportunity to appoint a lawyer. The prosecution revealed that it would oppose the duo's bail application when they bring a formal application next month.
Hawks spokesman Captain Philani Nkwalase said Eze and Mendrew were arrested “for allegedly defrauding several vulnerable and unsuspecting women through an online dating scam‚ all to an estimated value of R1.2-million”.
He added: “During the arrest‚ the team seized a vehicle‚ cellphones‚ bank cards and statements suspected to be the proceeds of crime.”
In another matter‚ the Hawks swooped on Tochukwu Christopher Udeh‚ 27‚ who has also been linked to the scam. He appeared in the Bellville Magistrate’s Court last week.
“It is alleged that the suspect forms part of a syndicate operating around Cape Town‚” Nkwalase said.
“Their modus operandi reportedly include using fake profiles on online-based dating sites to lure victims. The conversations would build up to phone calls‚ emails and WhatsApp messages‚ following which unsuspecting victims would then be tricked into parting with money or purchasing gifts and shipping them to the fraudsters.”
Nkwalase said laptops‚ smartphones‚ bank cards and documents relating to a shipment from a victim in Australia were seized during the arrest.
Udeh will bring a formal bail application later this month.