A notorious London based Nigeria 419 conman has began an eight year jail sentence after he was found guilty at the Old Bailey of scamming victims, most of them old and vulnerable out of thousands of pounds in a fake lottery scam.
Frank Onyeachonam 38, lived an extravagant and charmed champagne filled lifestyle and was even called “fizzy” because of his undying love for the bubbly expensive drink according to The Mail newspaper.
Sentencing the conman, judge Rebecca Poulet QC said, “I judge your culpability to be very high. This was a very well thought out operation, sophisticated in both its planning and operation”. You targeted these individuals because they were elderly and likely to agree to be tricked by this scam”.
In some of his footnotes, Onyeachonam described some of his victims as crippled, old or poor. Fourteen of his victims were located; most of them in the US though one was located in the UK. Police believe more than 400 victims might have been scammed in an operation that netted the con men more than £30 million over a number of years. The scam was uncovered in a three year investigation by the National Crime Agency.
When police raided his London Canary wharf residence, they uncovered an avalanche of evidence implicating Onyeachonam. In court, he still tried to deny the charges but the police had a water tight case against him.
Though elaborately planned, the plot was quiet simply. It is an advance fee fraud in which Onyeachonam and his cronies sent out emails to people informing them they had won the lottery though some had never bought a lottery ticket in their lives. To claim the winning prize, they had to fork out some money. However, no prize money ever arrived, only demands for more money until the victims are sucked dry. Onyeachonam was the head of the racket in the UK but police suspect there was an elaborate international network involved in the scam
He then spent his booty on fast cars, wine, designer clothes and exotic holidays. He is reported to have bought champagne, some costing £500 a bottle. His facebook page had a fridge full of champagne.
According to UK law, another case will soon take place that will hopefully give authority to the crime agency to seize and sell Onyeachonam’s proceeds from crime including his luxury Lagos residence.