Greek authorities have dismantled a criminal organization consisting of Nigerian and Sierra Leonean nationals accused of duping women out of substantial sums of money through an elaborate online scam.
The perpetrators, in the guise of medical workers affiliated with international organizations, targeted victims on Facebook. Under the pretense of forming platonic relationships, the group managed to extract over €206,000 ($226,000) from unsuspecting women.
The suspects, ranging in age from 31 to 49, included a 46-year-old, a 34-year-old, a 38-year-old, two 39-year-old, a 43-year-old, and a 49-year-old from Nigeria, as well as a 31-year-old and a 33-year-old from Sierra Leone. Three additional male suspects remain unidentified, known only by the names "Schneider Muller," "David," and "Leonard Norman."
According to police reports, the fraudulent activity persisted from at least October 2021 to October 2022. The perpetrators maintained regular communication with their victims through text messages.
The case file compiled by the Property Rights Protection Department outlines charges of "Criminal Organization and Fraud in the degree of felony jointly and repeatedly." Nine individuals have been apprehended, while authorities are actively seeking additional accomplices.
The investigation was triggered by a complaint filed a year ago by a 42-year-old woman and another complaint filed 1.5 months later by a 77-year-old woman on December 24, 2022. Both victims provided authorities with email correspondences and evidence of monetary transactions.
The suspects allegedly convinced victims to deposit sums ranging from €1,500 to €35,000 into Greek bank accounts, citing various reasons such as frozen accounts or early retirement contributions. The funds were subsequently withdrawn through ATMs in central Athens and Thessaloniki.
Greek law enforcement officials, having uncovered the extent of the fraudulent operation, are urging caution and vigilance among citizens engaging in online relationships, particularly those involving financial transactions. The investigation is ongoing, and additional charges may be filed as more accomplices are identified.
[Information sourced from iefimerida.gr and 24News]