Two London-based Nigerian conmen, Godwin Nwaofor and Frank Onyechonam involved in defrauding mainly American pensioners, informing them they had won the Australian Lottery in bogus letters, have met their waterloo.
Daily Mail reports that Nwaofor who had cheated pensioners out of £5m life savings had a ‘suckers list’ of target victims to send his bogus letters to. The letters were sent by a ‘lottery agent’ targeting mainly American pensioners, informing them they had won a life-changing prize and demanding ‘activation fees’ to release their cash.
He received around £1 million from the scam and blew the money on luxury cars, gold jewellery and expensive champagne at top nightclubs in London.
However, Nwaofor helped Onyechonam, who was nicknamed ‘Fizzy’ for his love of vintage champagne and jailed for eight years last year, after he was exposed as the chief player in the scam
Judge Richard Hone QC however, had little sympathy for Nwaofor, who broke down in tears at Central Criminal Court as he was jailed for seven years.
The Judge said the evidence in the case at Central Criminal Court against Nwaofor was ‘overwhelming’ and showed him to be a proven liar.
”You have a tendency to be dishonest in your dealings with landlords, agencies, the police, HMRC, and car hire firms. You also moved addresses regularly to ensure your whereabouts remained a mystery,” he said.
Nwaofor moved to the UK in January 2006 from Nigeria and soon married a German citizen. He has two children with her, aged six and six-months-old. He lived in Camberell Green, South London.
One victim, a 76-year-old woman, who believed she had won $1.85m, tried to track down Nwaofor after the FBI told her she had fallen victim to a scam.
She flew to the UK and went to the address she had for Nwaofor, but found that he had already moved on to another address.
Nwaofor, found guilty of conspiracy to defraud, converting criminal property and acquisition of criminal property, will serve half his sentence in prison and the remaining part on licence. He will also now face confiscation proceeds.
However, police identified 406 victims from two notebooks found at Onyeachonam’s Canary Wharf penthouse, in London when he was arrested.
They seized Louis Vuitton shoes, Gucci handbags, a collection of expensive watches and dozens of designer shoes, as well as 5,000 pictures of Onyeachonam flaunting his wealth at exclusive upmarket venues including the Guvnor Bar in Docklands, east London.
Onyeachonam, of Canning Town, east London, was found guilty of conspiracy to defraud between January 2005 and December 2012.
There was also evidence of extensive communication with Lagos resident, Ese Orogun, nicknamed the ‘chairman’, who is thought to be the global mastermind of the fraud.
Orogun reportedly lives in a private gated community, and is a ‘celebrity’ in the former Nigerian capital and drives multiple supercars, including a Maserati and a Porsche.
Detectives fear the scale of the fraud could even mushroom to £30 million if all the details discovered in notebooks and emails can be traced to victims.