Status: 31.08.2023, 21:00 p.m.
By: Thomas Zimmerly
A barbed wire fence encloses the grounds of a correctional facility. © Bernd Weißbrod/dpa/Symbolbild
An asylum seeker (30) has to go to prison for a case of particularly serious money laundering. According to the prosecutor's office, he was the financial agent of a love scammer – a love scammer.
Dachau – In love or romance scamming, scammers approach women on online dating sites or in social networks. In order to make themselves interesting to the potential victim, they tell unusual life stories, sometimes whisper something of love in the women's ears and soon babble again about an emergency for which the "lover" needs money.
The women pay, the scammer, too German fraudster, disappears with the money, never to be seen again. The lousy scam is now well known, but it still works, as a trial yesterday before the Dachau District Court sadly proved.
Love-Scamming: Prison sentence for asylum seekers for money laundering
In the dock was a 30-year-old asylum seeker from Nigeria. He served as a "financial agent" for the scammer, as the prosecutor put it. Until four months ago, the African lived in a shelter in the municipality of Bergkirchen; today he lives in Bremerhaven. In 2021, according to his own statements, he met a compatriot at Munich's main train station.
The defendant described what happened next as follows: At some point, his "friend" asked him to open an account with a bank. Money from a friend is received on this, which the "boyfriend" urgently needs. So he should quickly withdraw the amounts in cash and then hand them over to his "friend" at Munich's main train station. For his services, the "friend" had promised him a fee.
He stole almost 20,000 euros from his victims
As the Dachau police department later determined, the defendant took off eleven times, a total of 19,761 euros he slipped to the "friend". The case came to light because a Dachau bank suspected money laundering because of the account movements and reported this to the authorities. The "friend" has now been deported to Nigeria, he is no longer accessible to the German judiciary.
The cybercrime experts also found out where the money came from. Not from the girlfriend, but from six women from Germany. They had all fallen for the "friend" or other villains and had transferred the money to the account of the 30-year-old.
In good faith as they were, they thought they were alleviating some hardships. One of the women had not only paid to the "boyfriend". She made a total of 48,000 euros, which four different scammers pocketed.
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Love-Scamming: A nasty scam
The Dachauer Nachrichten reported on love scamming four years ago. Then as now, the impostors are all men and live in sub-Saharan Africa, mainly in Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo or Kenya.
In yesterday's trial, the defendant said: "I didn't know that I had done anything criminal." His defense attorney added: "It cannot be proven that he knowingly and willingly knew about the love scamming." He therefore pleaded for acquittal.
The prosecutor countered: "It is absolutely unbelievable that they withdraw almost 20,000 euros without asking precise questions about where the money comes from." Finally, Judge Stefan Lorenz looked the defendant in the eye and said: "There is a nasty system behind it, in which you have been included. I have a hard time believing they just wanted to do something good for their friend."
Judge Lorenz sentences the defendant to imprisonment
Lorenz read out the defendant's criminal record: five convictions for fare evasion and a one-year prison sentence for dangerous bodily harm, for which the 30-year-old was still on open probation. In the end, the chairman sentenced him to one year and three months without parole for money laundering in a particularly serious case. By the way, the Nigerian did not get any money from his "friend". "He smeared it," Lorenz told those present.