Illegal immigrant Nigerian 'Romeo' fraudster preyed on terminally ill victim after she died


AN ILLEGAL Nigerian immigrant "Romeo" fraudster continued to target a terminally ill woman he had pursued even after she died.

Osagie Aigbonohan, 40, (above) originally from Lagos, Nigeria, used a number of aliases to contact women online through dating and social media sites, and in one case cheated a woman out of nearly £10,000. Using the name ‘Tony Eden’, Aigbonohan struck up a ten-month relationship with the victim last year via a dating site and persuaded her to lend him money to buy machinery for his business overseas.

The victim made nine transfers into various accounts held under fake identities, with the money eventually making its way into a personal account held by Aigbonohan, which he used for everyday spending.

Data from Aigbonohan’s phone showed that he also received money from at least eight other victims and had been in contact with over 670 people in total.

One of the women targeted was terminally ill, with Aigbonohan continuing to pursue her even after she had passed away.

Officers from the NCA arrested Aigbonohan in July 2021. He was found to be carrying a false driver’s license at the time and had no legal right to be in the UK, having overstayed his visa from two years ago.

Records showed that despite living in McLeod Road, Abbey Wood, south-east London, he’d spent victim’s money in locations across London, Manchester and Glasgow.

Following his arrest officer’s conducted a search of his home address where they found footwear he’d purchased with store vouchers that could be linked back to one of the victims.

Aigbonohan appeared before Southwark Crown Court on Friday (December 3), where he pleaded guilty to charges relating to fraud by false representation, possession of a false identity document and possession of an article intended for use in fraud.

He will remain in custody until he is sentenced at the same court on January 14 2022.

Dominic Mugan, NCA Operations Manager, said: “Romance fraud is a particularly cruel crime that impacts victims both emotionally and financially, with victims often feeling like they’re the ones to blame.

“Aigbonohan showed total disregard for the victims in this case and was happy to commit further fraud by moving money between various fraudulently held accounts.

“It’s possible that he contacted more people than we know about, if you think you may have been a victim, or may be a victim in a similar case, we would urge you to report the details to Action Fraud.”

The NCA advise anyone using dating websites to avoid giving away too many personal details when speaking online to someone you’ve never met in person, as it can lead to your identity being stolen. You should stay on the site’s messaging service until you meet in person; don’t be tempted to switch to other platforms that offer less protection. And most importantly, no matter how long you’ve been speaking to someone online and how much you trust them, if you haven’t met them in person do not send them any money.

If you think you have been a victim of fraud you should report it to ActionFraud.police.uk and follow the advice of the Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign, which offers straight-forward and impartial advice to help people spot scams and protect themselves against fraud.