A man who conned people out of nearly £800,000 by promising to help them claim fake lottery winnings or an inheritance from a relative has been found guilty.
Patrick Bomboi Emuh, 54, was found guilty at Southwark Crown Court in London yesterday (Dec 3).
He was convicted of 19 counts of acquiring criminal property contrary to the Proceeds of Crime Act and is to face sentencing on January 8, 2013, police said.
The court heard that Emuh, from Bromhedge, Greenwich in south London, convinced people they had received windfalls, then charged them fees of almost £800,000 to obtain the non-existent money.
Emuh took £788,297 in total from his victims. He was only caught after officers found him carrying £10,000 in cash and began investigating him in 2006.
Financial investigators discovered large sums of money had been deposited into his accounts and uncovered the extent of the fraud when they traced - and spoke with - depositors. They all had the same story about Emuh.
The Police said he 'cold-called and emailed at least 20 people from around the world, telling them they had won a lottery or inherited money from a distant relative.
'Having tricked his victims into believing they were in line for thousands of pounds, Emuh instructed them to pay "advance fees", "taxes" and "handling charges" to obtain the money. In some cases, a person pretending to be a lawyer contacted victims to "help" them claim the money, charging them more money for this service.'
The victims, who came from the UK, USA, Germany, Chile, New Zealand, Australia and Romania, were told to send the money into various bank accounts or to Emuh by Western Union cash transfer.
Southwark Crown Court heard that victims were convinced to travel to the UK, where they were met by people pretending to be businessmen.
Victims were even charged extra after being told their bank notes were 'contaminated' and that they had to 'pay money up front in order for the cash to be cleaned to "legitimise" it,' police said.
Investigators said that even when confronted with the evidence, Emuh tried to bluff his way out, telling police he was a diesel oil businessman and the victims were his customers in Nigeria.
Financial investigator, Doug Ferns, of the MPS's Specialist and Economic Crime Command, said: 'Emuh tricked people into believing they had struck it lucky and when he was caught out, he had the audacity to claim that the victims were in fact business customers.
'A thorough investigation of his bank accounts, mobile phones and computer combined with the many witness statements allowed us to see right through his story.'
Police said they already seized £60,000 cash from Emuh and are now applying for a confiscation order from which victims will be compensated.
Ferns warned the public: "If a stranger contacts you saying you have inherited money or won a lottery and must pay fees to access your windfall, do not believe it. Call the police."