419: Web love scam allegedly duped Kiwi of $276K

A Nigerian man accused of faking romance to swindle a New Zealand woman of nearly a quarter-million dollars faced his day in court Monday.

Nigeria’s anti-graft agency arraigned Akintunde Vincent Abiodun, 37, at Lagos State High court on 14 counts of forgery and obtaining money by false pretenses.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission said he had fraudulently obtained $267,000 from D. Bonnici, a New Zealand woman, by posing as “Christopher Williams” from the United Kingdom and pretending that he would marry her.

The agency quoted Bonnici as saying she had met Akintunde on an Internet dating website and fell in love with him.

“She said the accused started collecting money from her after he claimed he was in possession of gemstone worth $18,050,000, which he purportedly inherited from his father,” according to a court filing.

“Akintunde hoodwinked her into believing that he was coming to New Zealand to settle down with her,” the agency added, saying the money sent to the suspect was received in Malaysia by co-conspirators.

The man pleaded not guilty to the charges but was denied bail due to flight risk.

The trial is due to continue on March 7.

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