Frank Onyeachonam, a Nigerian fraudster nicknamed ‘Fizzy’ because of his love of champagne has been jailed for eight years for conning vulnerable pensioners both in the UK and the US out of their life savings.
The Mail reported that Onyeachonam ran the UK end of global lottery scam that was orchestrated from Nigeria for seven years to fund his lavish millionaire’s lifestyle. It involved hundreds of perpetrators in several countries, detectives say.
In the UK, 38-year-old Onyeachonam conned pensioners out of sums from £2,000 to £600,000, deliberately targeting his victims because they were potentially vulnerable to his tactics.
While he bled them of their life savings, Onyeachonam enjoyed a life of fast cars, champagne and designer clothes.
Pictures he posted on Facebook show he spent the cash on Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Armani designer clothes, Rolex watches, Porsches and Maseratis.
He even stuck wads of what look like £50 notes in his Buzz Lightyear toy.
Onyeachonam, of Canning Town, east London, was found guilty at the Old Bailey of conspiracy to defraud following a three-week trial.
Lawrencia Emenyonu, 38, and Bernard Armah, 51, both of Wood Green, north London, were also found guilty of money laundering. All three denied the charges.
Emenyonu was jailed for 18 months while her partner Armah received an eight-month term.
Judge Rebecca Poulet QC, said there had been ‘some very serious outcomes’ for the victims caught up in the scam.
She told married father-of-two Onyeachonam: ‘I judge your culpability to be very high. This was a very well thought out operation, sophisticated in both its planning and its operation.
‘Mr Onyeachonam, you targeted these individuals because they were elderly and likely to agree and be tricked by this scam.’
This was demonstrated in the fraudster’s own notes in which he described them as ‘crippled, old or poor’, she said.
The harm that was caused to these people could not just be calculated in financial terms but also on the ‘dreadful impact ‘ on their lives, mental capacity and relationships with loved-ones.
The judge went on: ‘You contested the case in the face of powerful evidence. You demonstrated the arrogance that you must have carried with you throughout this fraud by continuing after you knew that the police had raided your premises.’
The ruse – known as an ‘advance fee’ fraud – saw Onyeachonam send victims emails claiming they had won millions of pounds on a non-existent Australian lottery and requesting a charge to release their winnings.
Investigators traced 14 victims – mainly from the U.S. but including one from Britain – who were defrauded of a total of around £900,000.
But detectives believe this is the ‘tip of the iceberg’ with evidence suggesting there may have been as many as 400 victims and the sum may be as high as £30 million.
.Culled from Mail Online: For more on this story, please click: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2679755/Nigerian-conman-called-Fizzy-loved-champagne-scammed-pensioners-life-savings-fake-lottery-fund-lavish-party-lifestyle.html