Alleged Nigerian Scam Artists Arrested in SA

Eight people have been charged by a South African court in connection with an Internet dating scam that has been carried out over a decade.

On Tuesday, 19 October, the suspects – aged 33 to 52, and reportedly of Nigerian nationality – were arrested by the Hawks police unit and Interpol in Cape Town. They appeared in Cape Town Magistrate’s Court the next day, where they were charged with carrying out online scams, money laundering, and overseas financial fraud.

According to prosecutors, the suspects are members of Black Axe, a Nigerian-based, transnational crime syndicate responsible for defrauding more than 100 victims of $7 million.

Using false identities, they would allegedly speak to the victims – primarily elderly widows and divorcees – on dating sites, sharing fabricated stories about why they needed money, ranging from crippling debt to covering inheritance tax.

Sympathetic, the victims would then give the money to the suspects, who in turn would disappear.

If convicted, the suspects could face up to 20 years in prison.