At least three Ghanaians have been arrested over "large-scale romance fraud" in which some £5 million has been stolen from 16 Britons.
They are Opoku Agyeman arrested in UK, Moro Musah and Sabina Adzre both arrested in Accra by the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO).
The special operation code-named ‘Operation Grateful’ was done between four Ghanaian security agencies; EOCO, Bureau of National Investigations (BNI), Narcotic Control Board (NACOB) and the Ghana Police Service as well as the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA).
The joint investigation was into romance scam, its resultant trade-based money laundering (TBML) and exploitation of victims’ details both in and outside Ghana.
A statement by EOCO Tuesday said at least 16 people have been uncovered to have fallen victim to the fraud and the sum of £5 million have been stolen from the victims in the UK.
Deputy EOCO Director, Nana Antwi told Joy News the amount in question was transferred into certain accounts in some banks in Ghana.
But the monies have been withdrawn from the accounts, he noted.
Experts say romance scam is a dangerous and vicious form of mass market fraud because perpetrators target assets of victims and end up abusing them emotionally.
Hundreds of Ghana’s youth are said to be engaging in the scam, which was reportedly high last year.
UK’s National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) revealed more than 3,889 Brits were duped in 2016. The sum of £39 million was reportedly stolen from them.
Their mode of operation varies depending on the emotional state of the victims.
EOCO said second-hand clothing/textile business was applied to launder the proceeds of the identified romance fraud.
Mr Antwi said investigations are still ongoing to apprehend other people who are neck deep in the scandal.
“This is a complex organized financial crime,” EOCO observed.
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