Cyber crime suspects stay in jail

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Pretoria - The case against nine Nigerian nationals and one South African woman alleged to be involved in an international cyber crime syndicate was postponed in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court today.

The accused were supposed to apply for bail but because documents from Home Affairs confirming the status of the foreign nationals in the country were not available, the matter was postponed to June 23.

The accused have been in custody for three weeks and are struggling according to their lawyer.

“My clients are desperate to apply for bail,” said Peter Jay, defence for nine of the accused.

The alleged 300 million-dollar cybercrime syndicate was bust by the Hawks and their US counterparts and led to the arrest of 24 people in three countries.

US Homeland Security claimed the crime ring was behind numerous complex financial fraud schemes. These included internet dating, reshipping scams, work-at-home scams and other financial and credit card fraud.

It is expected the group will be extradited to the US to be prosecuted.

Police said last week that more Nigerians had been arrested in Canada, Indianapolis and Atlanta.

Seven Americans had been arrested in New York, Georgia and Indiana.

Homeland Security investigations initiated the probe in 2011 after a woman was scammed on an online dating website.

She received a package - bought using stolen personal information and fraudulent credit card information - from her suitor and was asked to reship it to Pretoria.

Once the shipped packages arrived in the city, the suspects advertised them on the internet for sale.

Pretoria News

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