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Nigerian mafia leaders arrested for romance scams in Cape Town | #daitngscams | #lovescams | #datingscams | #love | #relationships | #scams | #pof | #match.com | #dating

Members of a large transnational Nigerian syndicate, the Black Axe that preys on widows or divorcees and scamming them out of their millions were arrested in early morning raids in Cape Town on Tuesday.


According to media reports, six leaders and the founder of the Black Axe organised crime group’s Cape Town chapter were amongst those arrested in a coordinated operation involving the Hawks and US law enforcement authorities.

The group is believed to be behind hundreds of thousands of romance scams.

Photo: Facebook

The Hawks spokesperson Colonel Katlego Mogale said eight foreign nationals aged between 33 to 52 were arrested for Internet scams, money laundering, and international-wide scale financial fraud.

“All suspects were arrested during a large-scale operation in the early morning hours of today and will be charged with a variety of financial crimes, including conspiracy to commit wire/mail fraud/mail and money laundering. The suspects in this investigation are alleged to have ties to a transnational organized crime syndicate originating in Nigeria.”

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Mogale said it is alleged that these suspects allegedly preyed on victims, many of whom are vulnerable widows or divorcees who were led to believe that they were in a genuine romantic relationship but were scammed out of their hard-earned money.

“The suspects used social media websites, online dating websites to find and connect with their victims.  Other modus operandi used by the suspects includes business email compromise, where email accounts are diverted in order to change banking details.  They assumed fake names and trolled dating sites.

“Once they had ingratiated themselves with their victims, they allegedly concocted sob stories about why they needed money – i.e., taxes to release an inheritance, essential overseas travel, crippling debt, etc. – and then siphoned money from victim’s accounts to the amount of 100 million rands.”

She said these crimes hit close to home.

“Neighbours, parents, friends, and family would be targets of this organization. The fraudsters intimidated and berated their victims, ruined their lives, and then disappeared. We are confident that this investigation will have a significant impact on this region and beyond.”

Mogale said the FBI estimates that more than 100 people lost more than 100 million rands in romance scams from 2011 to date. 

“This was a joint operation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI), United State Secret Service(USSS) Investigations, Interpol and with assistance from the Hawks Serious Commercial Crime Investigation Unit, Crime Intelligence(CI), K9, National Intervention Unit, Special Task Force (STF), Tactical Operations Management Section (TOMS), Criminal Record Centre and Cape Town Metro police.

“The operation was initiated based on the Mutual Legal Assistance from Central Authorities of the United States of America that was approved by the Republic of South Africa.”

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She urged the public to report any suspected online scam fraud at the nearest police station.


According to Journalism Fund, nine Nigerian students founded a fraternity called “The Neo-Black Movement of Africa” (NBM) in the 1970s.

” Its logo was an axe smashing the shackles of colonialism, its members saw themselves as vanguard in the fight against racism and oppression – not only in Nigeria but worldwide. Today, the NBM is active on almost every continent and has a self-reported membership of around 30,000 members.”

“In recent years, however, police officers and prosecutors in various countries such as the US, Canada, UK, and Italy have investigated NBM members. They accused them of a wide range of criminal activities such as fraud, money laundering, drug trafficking, and trafficking in human beings. In Nigeria, the NBM has repeatedly been associated with the “Black Axe”, a forbidden gang involved in violence and killings.”


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