Police have arrested Nigerian National Nathan Amadi for allegedly conned over one million baht from a Thai woman through an elaborate online scam.
Onyekachi Nathaniel Amadi, 37, was arrested in Samut Prakan on Friday. He is believed to be a member of one of many “419 scam” gangs, said Pol Capt Chaithat Boonkham, acting chief of the Crime Suppression Division.
Pol.Col. Chaitat Boonkham, commander of Crime Suppression Division, said in a press conference today that Amadi posed as a “British surgeon who worked for the United Nations” and contacted a Thai woman through a dating site to start an online relationship with her.
The accused said that after a month of chatting and getting to know each other, Mr Amadi told Ms Waranya that he would fly to Thailand to see her on Sept 16. He sent her photos of his plane ticket and reservation for a hotel room in Pattaya to convince her.
Police said Mr Amadi later told the woman that he needed to ship some medical equipment to Thailand and asked her to advance money to clear the shipment through Customs.
After that, other scammers, both male and female, contacted Ms Waranya. One claimed to be a forwarding official in the Philippines who demanded US$2,800 (92,000 baht) from her to clear the equipment from Philippine Customs.
After she transferred the money, another caller claimed the packages had been seized at a Philippine airport after a scan showed there was money inside.
The scammer claimed it was an attempt to smuggle money out of the Philippines and asked her to pay a fine of $25,000 since her name was listed as the recipient.
After the Thai woman wired more money for the fine, she was sent a photo of what was claimed to be a receipt from Philippine Customs. In was probably a forgery also.
Later, police said, Mr Amadi told the woman that the shipment would be taxed US$80,000 (2.64 million baht) and asked her to advance the amount to him.
Ms Waranya said she did not have such a large amount but Mr Amadi insisted until she agreed to transfer 1.2 million baht to a Bangkok Bank account owned by a Thai citizen.
Mr Amadi kept trying to ask Ms Waranya to advance more money for various reasons but she filed a complaint with the police, who arrested him on Friday.
Mr Amadi told police that he had not deceived Ms Waranya as his role was only to withdraw cash from ATMs.
But police say they believe he was the person who had chatted with Ms Waranya while he was in Malaysia, based on an IP address used at the time.
Police who arrested Mr Amadi also seized a notebook computer, three mobile phones and an employee card of a private company under the name John Freddy.
He was charged with fraud for impersonating another person, and with importing into a computer system false information that could cause damage to others.
Earlier, police arrested Ahamefula Chibuike Kali, 33, a Nigerian whom they believe was in the same gang.
Since evidence and witnesses were not enough to prosecute him at the time, they charged Mr Kali with overstaying his visa.
Nigerian or 419 scams are a type of fraud in which the victim is promised a significant sum if he makes a small up-front payment to the scammers. If a victim makes the payment, the fraudster either invents a series of further fees for the victim, or simply disappears.
The number “419” refers to the section of the Nigerian Criminal Code dealing with fraud. Many 419 scams originate as e-mail spam but some operators use more sophisticated means to lure people online. – Bangkok Post, Khoasod