Five Nigerian Men, Bhutanese Woman Arrested In India For Allegedly Duping Hundreds Of Women Via Dating Apps

Five Nigerian nationals, living illegally in India, and a Bhutanese woman, have been arrested for duping hundreds of women in India and several other countries, of lakhs of rupees on dating applications.

The suspects identified as Okolie Stephen, Okolie Prosper, Okosindhi Micheal, Umad Roland, Okolie Daniel, and Kunjgmo, were arrested by Gautam Buddha Nagar Noida Police on Sunday, March 5, 2023.

The 36-year-old female suspect, Kunjgmo, from Trongsa in Bhutan, is married to a Nigerian man, who is also a part of the gang but is currently in Nigeria.

The suspects created fake dating profiles by pretending to be Indian doctors living abroad, or doctors of other nationalities, on apps such as Tinder, Bumble, OkCupid, Badoo and Hinge, said investigators.

The suspects then connected with women and befriended them, said officers, adding that after gaining their trust, the suspects told the women that they were coming to India on a certain date to meet them.

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“Then these men called the women and said they were stopped at the airport by customs officials because they were carrying large amount of foreign currency or expensive gifts. The arrested woman suspect posed as a customs official and spoke to these women. She asked the women to pay a certain amount as customs duty to secure the release of their friend,” said deputy commissioner of police (Noida) Harish Chander.

The victims of the fraud, who were under the impression that the suspects were wealthy doctors, transferred money after the men assured them that they would pay them back, said investigators.

“This gang has been operating for the past seven to eight years and we have come to know that they have duped hundreds of women so far, not just from India but also from other countries, including Portugal, Sweden and the Netherlands,” said assistant commissioner of police (Noida-1) Rajneesh Verma.

After a more than six-hours interrogation, investigators learned that the suspects used translation software to talk to women of different nationalities in their own languages.

“We seized 17 phones from the suspects and saw at least 30-35 chats with different women on every phone. This means that the group was planning to cheat 500 women in the past month alone. They have fake accounts even on dating apps that are considered very safe for women. To further establish their authenticity, they changed their VPNs so that women would believe where they are calling from,” added Verma.

He said the suspects spoke to the women on phone but did not do video calls.

“When the women asked to speak to the men on video, the men stuck a white paper on the camera and claimed the camera was not working,” said Verma.

He said after receiving the money in bank accounts set up under false identities, they broke off contact with the women after a couple of days. Then, they got the money converted to Nigerian currency Naira before using it.

The suspects came from Nigeria to India in 2021 on education and medical visa of six months but stayed back illegally. They live in Supertech Golf Country along the Yamuna Expressway.

A case has been registered against them at the Sector 20 police station under Section 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property) and other sections of the IT Act. They were produced before a magistrate and sent to judicial custody.

Police have recovered three laptops, a two-wheeler, three passports and ₹40,000 from the suspects and have also seized a bank account linked to them that has ₹1.25 lakh.

“We are going to inform the Nigerian embassy about the gang and its activities. We are confirming the exact status of their passports and visas as we have still not recovered passports of two suspects,” said Chander.