An ex-Nigerian footballer jailed over €58,000 romance fraud

Malta-based Ex-Nigerian footballer Sunday Eboh has been jailed for 3 years and fined €20,000 after being convicted, together with fellow Nigerian Tony Ogbonna, of being part of a romance fraud scheme that cost an elderly Maltese widow €58,700 in total.

Eboh, Collins Eguavoen, Marvis Iyeke, and Tony Ogbonna, all from Nigeria, were arrested in 2021, together with Maltese national Alexandra Pace. In terms of the judgment handed down, the court also jailed Ogbonna for 28 months and ordered Eboh to repay the woman within 6 months.

Police said that the victim, an elderly Maltese woman, had fallen victim to the fraud after being lured into an online relationship with what she thought was an American soldier deployed in Afghanistan.

The police had received a report from the victim’s daughter to the effect that her mother had been chatting with someone on Facebook by the name of Smith Jones. Smith Jones told the victim that he was an American citizen and that he was a soldier deployed to Afghanistan.

Subsequently, Smith Jones asked the victim for her mobile number, and they started chatting on WhatsApp. Jones provided the victim with several Maltese bank account numbers, along with details of the owners of such accounts.

After she had made the first payment, Smith Jones kept on requesting that the victim transfer more funds. The daughter of the defrauded woman told the court that her mother had transferred a total of €58,700.

Out of this sum, €10,000 was transferred back to her because when she had effected the payment as requested by the same man, later identified as Shamson Alamu, he had called her up, claiming to have given her the wrong bank details. The victim then went to the bank and requested a reversal of the transfer.

The court said that not only did a common design exist between Eboh, Ogbonna Anuforo, and others, but that the two defendants were “material co-participants and co-authors” in the money laundering offense as well as handling stolen goods, although with respect to Tony Ogbonna only as an attempted offense.

“When Ogbonna Anuforo failed to convince Alamu to keep the €10,000, it was also Eboh’s account number that was communicated to the victim so as to transfer the reversed funds into it, noted the court.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button