Five persons including four Nigerian nationals have been arrested for allegedly duping a city-based woman of $56,793 after befriending her on social media, Nagpur Cyber Police in India said on Tuesday.
One of the accused befriended Reena Samsher Singh (56), an ex-army nurse, on Facebook by using fake profiles, the police said.
According to India’s media, the Nigerians arrested were identified as Michael Scott Kolain (23), Idu Dollar Ukeke (32), Imu Sunday Azudaike (32), Kelvin Neke (29).
Their Indian accomplice was named as Sujeet Dilip Tiwari (25).
One of them claimed to be from the United States and told Singh that he would send her gifts and gold jewelery.
The accused asked her to deposit money in various bank accounts for `releasing’ the goods from the customs.
She then received WhatsApp messages, threatening to implicate her in a money laundering case if she failed to pay.
She thus ended up depositing $56,793 in accounts in Vijaya Bank, Canara Bank, UCO Bank and HDFC Bank.
Finally, realizing that she was being defrauded by cyber criminals, she approached the police.
The cyber police tracked down the accused from CCTV footage of bank branches where she had deposited the money.
The money received from the ex-army official was diverted into eight different accounts.
Most of these accounts were traced to Delhi resident, Sujit Tiwari, who was the first one to be picked up by the city police team.
Cyber cops, under city police chief, Amitesh Kumar, and additional CP Sunil Phulari, had frozen the eight bank accounts with balance of around Rs18 lakhs, seized 13 mobile phones and 18 different credit cards from the gang.
Police are yet to trace out the passport and visas of the Nigerian nationals.
A team of only six persons comprising Senior Inspector, Raghavendrasingh Khirsagar, Asst PI Vishal Mane, head constable Sanjay Tiwari, constable Ajay Pawar, Deepak Chavan and Bablu Thakur had to strive for several days in Delhi to arrest the Nigerian nationals and their local contact, Tiwari.
One of the Nigerians had nearly slipped away from the cops but was pinned down by the alert team.
It was Tiwari, who helped the racket with his bank accounts, SIM cards and other documents to receive the money from their victims.
Police managed to trace and nab Tiwari first, from whom details of the Nigerians were mostly gathered.