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American victim: How Internet Fraudster, Family Defrauded Me of $370,000

NICOLE Kierulff Sayers, the third prosecution witness in the ongoing trial of Nwachi Chidozie Kingsley, has narrated to the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court in Abuja how the defendant and his family allegedly conspired and defrauded her of $370,000.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is prosecuting Kingsley on a two-count charge bordering on stealing, obtaining by false pretence and criminal possession of fake documents to the tune of $370,000.

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One of the counts against him read: “That you, Nwachi Chidozie Kingsley sometime in 2021 in Abuja, within the jurisdiction of the High Court of Federal Capital Territory, Abuja with intent to defraud obtained the total sum of $370,000 from Nicole Kierulff Sayers under the false pretence of being a purported payment to finance a contract with Federal Ministry of Works and Housing with Contract No: RC/FGN/0275AN/20 issued to Nwachi Chidozie Kingsley, a claim which you knew to be false and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1(1)(b) of Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006 and punishable under Section 1(3) of the same Act.”

At the resumed trial on Wednesday, July 3, 2024, Sayers, an American and lawyer in Oregon, United States, was led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, Fatsuma Muhammad, and the witness identified the defendant before the court as the man who sent her messages on Facebook during her birthday.

She said: “I know the defendant, the defendant messaged me on Facebook on my birthday and he said he was a member of the same spiritual organisation with me.

“We engaged in romantic discussions and phrases and we engaged in conversations that escalated into a relationship of a romantic type.”

Sayers further told the court that the defendant asked her for money to finance the award of a contract by the Ministry of Works and Housing, claiming that some men were threatening his life if he didn’t provide money to secure the contract.

“He asked me for help, and supplied me with the details of the contract and logo and all the information, I believed that because I was in a vulnerable state and I had developed an emotional connection with him,” the American added.

According to her, the defendant told her that if she gave him $15,000, he would repay her within 45 days and she believed him, and transferred the money to the defendant, with an instruction to repay her the money.

Narrating how she transferred the money and how she got to meet the defendant’s family, Sayers said: “I transferred the money using a money transfer app, he received the money and within one week, he asked me to join him in a FaceTime Video with his family. This was his parents’ house and his entire family was there, which included his sister Doris Nwachi, Kenneth Nwachi, sister-in-law Loveline, his father Chizom, his mother Victoria and his alleged daughter Princess who was then two years old.

“On uncle of his, who I don’t think is a member of the family, I think is Bishop Ekeke, he and his mother’s brothers were there. He engaged me in video calls and messages and because of the reputation that I can see from a distance that he had, he is very highly regarded in the Port Harcourt area and I thought that I could trust him.

“So at the family meeting, each adult member that I met thanked me for saving the defendant’s alleged contract job and so, I didn’t realise that the entire family could conspire against one innocent woman as myself.”

The witness further disclosed that she had sent $40,000 to Kingsley before she came to Nigeria to meet the defendant.

She said: “Before I came to Nigeria, I sent to him approximately $40,000 and we had continued conversation about him paying back knowing that things will change. I arrived in Abuja in late March 2022 and I spent two weeks with the defendant and despite his assurances that he wouldn’t leave me alone for extended periods, he left me alone on countless occasions and I stayed at his rented house in Sun City, Abuja

“But because I wanted to get my money, I continued the relationship with him. Several months later, he asked for more money, a minimum of 125 transactions. The reason he gave me fall into several categories such as medical contingencies, surgeries, malaria treatment and other categories, such as supplies on the government contracts because he didn’t have the money for the government. He used emotional manipulation and gas lighting.

“The total amount, and to my best estimate, was well over $200,000 in a period of 12 months, January to December. On a few occasions, he claimed he attempted to wire me money at one specific time. He produced a document that he claimed was a bank document and that he made an attempt to wire me $10,000.

“He claimed the bank intercepted it, because he said the bank claimed it was an attempted misappropriation of government funds, so he found himself in jail. He asked me to bail him out and I did, and again he asked me to make provisions for bribes to pay for the criminal case, because he attempted to misappropriate government funds

“Finally, in December, after pleading and begging, and showing him my desperation, he agreed to wire more money to me and asked for the bank details and he said ‘I will do it tomorrow’. “Few days later, I asked him, ‘did you wire the money to me and he said no’. That was when I realised that I will never see a penny from him again.”

The presiding judge, Justice U.P Kekemeke, thereafter, adjourned the matter till November 7, 2024, for the continuation of trial.

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