Police have crippled an international scam syndicate, which used social networking site Facebook to woo women, following the arrest of a Nigerian couple and a local woman.
Bukit Aman CID deputy director II Datuk Rodwan Mohd Yusof said today the suspects, aged between 26 and 39, were arrested on Monday in two separate raids in Seri Kembangan and Cheras.
Police started investigations after a 43-year-old Taiwanese businesswoman reported being conned of RM380,000 after falling in love with the Nigerian man on Facebook.
Rodwan told reporters at his office here that the man posed as a British national by the name of John Miller on the website where he started a relationship with the woman three months ago.
The suspect claimed to reside in the United Kingdom and told her tha the would send a parcel containing items valued at Pound Sterling 950,000 for her to pick up in Malaysia.
“The woman lives in Taiwan. The suspect told her that she must pay a certain amount of money as the parcel was held in Malaysia,” he said.
It was only after she did transactions amounting to RM380,000 that she realised that she had been duped in what had been dubbed the African Scam, Rodwan said.
He said the Taiwanese woman flew to Malaysia and filed a report at the Taiwan Embassy which was passed on to the police.
In the Seri Kembangan raid, police seized RM100,000 worth of jewellery, USD15,000, RM14,260 and computer equipment, among other things, he said.
Police believe that money from the scam was used to operate a rental car business registered under the local woman’s name.
Four vehicles including a Toyota Rush and Honda Accord, worth about RM400,000 were confiscated from the business premises located near the home of the couple in Seri Kembangan.
The couple have a 18-month-old son and the husband is residing in Malaysia using a tourist visa. The wife is a businesswoman.
He said the local woman, who was arrested at an apartment in Cheras, is a private college student.
Rodwan said the syndicate was believed to have begun operations about three or four months ago.
“We will investigate whether the syndicate was involved in other reportedcases,” he said. He added that the suspects were remanded for four days until tomorrow.
Rodwan said that 759 fraud cases were reported last year involving estimated losses of RM20.5 million with 130 people convicted.
Up to last month, 245 cases were reported with RM9.4 million in losses and48 people charged, he said.