Romance fraudsters cheat unsuspecting victim of €28,000

Two arrested following Garda operation targeting dating website running fake profiles

The victim was lured into the scam after striking up a conversation with a fake profile on a dating website. File photograph: Getty

The victim was lured into the scam after striking up a conversation with a fake profile on a dating website. File photograph: Getty

 

A man lost €28,000 to a gang of fraudsters after being entrapped on a dating website, according to gardaí.

Two people have been arrested in the last five days in connection with the swindle. They are the fourth and fifth people to be detained as part of a Garda National Economic Crime Bureau’s investigation targeting a romance fraud gang.

The victim, who lives in the east of the country, was lured into the scam after striking up a conversation with a fake profile on a dating website.

As well as defrauding him of €28,000, the gang also used his bank account to launder the proceeds of a separate fraud involving an invoice redirection scam carried out on an Irish-based company.

The money taken from the victim was itself laundered through the bank accounts of two others, one based in Tipperary, the other in Dublin.

Last Thursday, gardaí arrested a man aged in his 20s in Tipperary in connection with the fraud. He was detained and interviewed before being released without charge. A file is being prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions.

On Monday morning a woman aged in her 40s was arrested under organised crime legislation; a vehicle was also seized as part of the arrest operation. The woman is being detained at Finglas Garda station and can be held for up to seven days under the Criminal Justice Act 2006.

Series of complaints

The arrests stem from an operation last year targeting a romance fraud gang during which three men were arrested.

The operation followed a series of complaints from victims who had been prevailed upon to transfer large sums of money online to accounts in Ireland, Turkey, Dubai and Vietnam after meeting the fraudsters on an online dating site.

Gardaí said at the time they believed the arrests would led to more victims coming to light and appealed for anyone who fell victim to the fraudsters to come forward.

All three men are before the courts.