Businesswoman blinded by love duped of $2.48 million

PETALING JAYA - Believing she had found true love at last, a 63-year-old woman parted with RM6.5 million (S$2.48 million), only to discover it was a scam organised by an African.

The single mother was lured by an e-mail invitation from a man who claimed to be a 55-year-old general with the US military.

The woman, who owns three audit firms, eventually fell for the "Caucasian" man, even though they only communicated via social media.

Within two months, he promised to marry the mother of three.

He told her he would move to Malaysia, claiming he was doing business with Petronas, and that it had the potential to generate hundreds of millions.

But the "general" soon claimed he was short of capital and asked the woman for loans to seal business deals with Petronas quickly and move on with their wedding plans.

The woman transferred money amounting to RM150,000 into the account of a local woman, whom the man had referred to as a business consultant.

After six months into the "relationship", she ending up parting with more than RM1million in six months.

She eventually sold her bungalow in Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur, and a few plots of land valued at about RM5 million.

It was only after she had emptied all her savings and assets that the woman's children found out that their mother had been conned and lodged a police report.

Police investigations revealed that the "general" was actually 15 Nige­rian men living in Puchong, who took turns to cheat the women over eight months with their "conversations".

In spite of police informing the woman that she had been duped, she still ended up banking another RM50,000 to her "lover" one last time.

The case led to a police raid at a condominium in Puchong where 15 men, aged between 25 and 30, were arrested along with a local woman, believed to be the owner of the local bank account used for the money transfers.

Police also confiscated 14 laptops, 20 mobile phones, 11 bank account books, and 11 ATM cards.

In another case involving RM8mil last week, a woman in her late 50s told police that she had befriended an African who "lived in an Iranian prison".

The woman, who works as a security guard, claimed that she got to know "Washington" through a phone call a few years ago.

She said throughout their long distance "relationship", Washington had promised to marry her after he was released from prison.

Although the calls to the woman clearly came from Malaysian numbers, the woman still believed that the man was in an Iranian prison.

The man also used the woman's bank account number to receive money which he conned others through the Internet.

"If Washington used my account to deposit money, he would let me take some of it and transfer the rest to his account.

"He told me he received the money from a relative and that he needed to use the money while in prison," she said.

As was in the case of the single mother, the woman still believed that her lover would one day appear even after being told by the police that she was being cheated.