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Multinational fraud ring arrested for social media scam targeting Vietnamese

Wednesday, June 10, 2020, 17:44 GMT+7
Multinational fraud ring arrested for social media scam targeting Vietnamese
Chukwugekwe Godwin Ajearo (left), a Nigerian member of the newly-exposed social media fraud ring in Vietnam, is questioned by a police officer. Photo: Thuong Hien / Tuoi Tre

The band of thieves faked the identity of an American soldier to offer big rewards or investment opportunities, luring Vietnamese victims into paying up-front fees. 

Police of the north-central province Thua Thien-Hue have arrested eleven people in a series of actions to take down the multinational fraud scheme, said Col. Pham Van Toan, director of the Criminal Investigation Department of the force. 

The arrests were made following a complaint from the Hue City resident C.T.N.H. about one foreign man who stole VND3.9 billion (US$169,300) from her.

Tracing the money down using clues from N.H.’s report, the police found out that the sum had been divided into multiple bank accounts and withdrawn on a few ATM units scattered around Ho Chi Minh City. 

“These fraudsters have banded together and created multiple fake IDs with the same photo identity to open accounts at a variety of banks, which are used to transfer scammed money. We have established the case and sent officers to Ho Chi Minh City for further inspection,” Toan said. 

After 15 days of investigation, the police have mapped out eight individuals with ties to the scheme.

Four of them — Ugochukwu Samuel Nnaemeka, Stanley Chidiebere Umed, Nnaka Chibuzor Frankline; Chimezie Ebuka Samuel — are identified as Nigerian, while the other four — Ngo Hai Nghi, Vu Ai Linh, Dao Dang Vu, Pham Ngoc Duy — are Vietnamese.

During an extensive investigation, three other Nigerians were arrested as accomplices to the crime: Chukwugekwe Godwin Ajearo, Ugochukuwu Okechukwu James and Ogo Emeka Donal.

Forged IDs, once used by the fraud ring to set up bank accounts, are seen in this photo. Photo: Thuong Hien / Tuoi Tre
Forged IDs, once used by the fraud ring to set up bank accounts, are seen in this photo. Photo: Thuong Hien / Tuoi Tre

According to statements made by members of the gang during interrogation, they are led by Dalaxy Dave, a Nigerian currently living in Cambodia. 

The scam involves impersonating an American soldier to get in touch with targeted Vietnamese victims through Facebook, Zalo, Whatsapp and other messaging platforms.

The victims would then be promised a valuable item or asked to invest in a joint venture, to which they need to reply by transferring money to designated bank accounts.

Dalaxy also ran other illegitimate businesses, one of which is obtaining personal payment information to steal money using hijacked Facebook accounts. 

Another ploy of the group is posing as police officers, prosecutors or other government agents and threatening victims into sending money to their bank accounts.

Police forces seized multiple relevant items from searching the group’s apartment, including 71 bank accounts, some 53 forged identity documentation, together with mobile phones, motorbikes and Facebook accounts utilized to run the scams.

The case is undergoing further investigation in accordance with Vietnamese law. 

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Xuan Tung - Nhat Linh / Tuoi Tre News

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