A 43-year-old Nigerian man identified as Fisayo Oluwafemi, who is said to be the kingpin of a four-person strong crime syndicate, has been accused of defrauding victims of almost $3 million through an alleged romance, identification and business scam he was running from inside Sydney’s Villawood Detention Centre with 16 phones.
The Nigerian man who ran the scam from inside the immigration detention facility by using 16 mobile phones, defrauded various small business owners, identity theft victims and would-be lovers since the start of the year.
The suspect who was arrested at Villawood Detention Centre on Thursday morning and charged with knowingly directing the activities of a criminal group, two counts of dealing with the proceeds of crime and possessing identity information to commit an offence, heads the syndicate group allegedly involved in romance scams, sending emails pretending to be from accounts payable, stealing identities and the fraudulent sale of products.
The Nigerian man who was denied bail by the Police and will be arraigned in Bankstown Local Court on Friday, was arrested after three other alleged syndicate members were apprehended by police under Strike Force Woolana.
One of the suspects, 36-year-old Nigerian national Harriette Bangura was arrested last Tuesday and charged with laundering $500,000 that police allege she obtained through fraudulent business emails. Harriette who is charged with 11 counts of dealing with the proceeds of crime and was granted bail by Central Local Court to reappear in November, had her Land Rover suspected to be the proceeds of crime, as well as mobile phones, documents and SIM cards from her Kingswood home and a Hoxton Park storage unit seized.
Two other Nigerian nationals were also arrested, after the police raided a Chester Hill home last Wednesday. It was gathered that a 20-year-old man, who police say helped launder $90,000 through fraudulent business emails, was arrested at home and charged with seven counts of recklessly dealing with the proceeds of crime and an identity theft offence.
SMH reported that a woman, also 20, was charged with knowingly dealing with the proceeds of crime. Police will allege that she was involved in the laundering of $17,000 obtained through business email compromise.