When Lloyd Johnson, an American, saw the picture of his internet girlfriend, he was apparently happy enough to part with 5,000 dollars to facilitate her travel arrangements to the United States.
But when he was asked to provide another 3,000 dollars, he smelt something fishy and this led him to the Ghana Police Service's website, where he sought help.
True to his suspicion, police investigations revealed that the supposed girlfriend, “Cynthia Bimpong,” was a 25-year-old male student of the Valley View University, Adu Asabre. Deputy Superintendent of Police, Denis Abade of the Criminal Investigations Department told the Times in Accra that Asabre has been arrested for defrauding Johnson by posing as a female pen pal interested in marriage.
Asabre allegedly obtained a picture of a light-skinned woman on the internet and used it to lure his victim. His accomplices, named as Terence Quaicoe and Amoa Wovenu, have also been arrested for their roles in facilitating the fraud.
Mr Abade said Asabre introduced himself to Johnson as Cynthia Bimpong who was looking for an American partner for marriage.
Johnson was quoted as saying that the relationship developed for some time until the time that he invited “Cynthia” to visit him in America.
Johnson sent “her” 5,000 dollars to help in the processing of the necessary travelling documents, but “Cynthia” later informed him that “she” had been arrested by Immigration officials at the Kotoka International Airport while going through departure formalities for possessing fake travelling documents.
Mr Abade said it was at this point that Quaicoe and Wovenu came into the picture.
Posing as police officers they sent an e-mail to Johnson asking him to send another 3,000 dollars for Cynthia's release and the preparation of new travelling documents.
Suspicious of the source of the mail, Lloyd contacted the police through their website, requesting nvestigations into the identity of his “girlfriend”.
The police asked Johnson to send the 3,000 dollars through the SG-SSB main branch to “Cythia” and took cover at the bank on the day of collection when they arrested the three young men.
Asabre reportedly admitted the offence during interrogation and said he had been “dating” Johnson for a long time and that they designed letterheads with the logo of the Police Service which they used in their correspondence with Johnson.