Cape Town - A romance scammer who pretended to be an Italian man on social media and allegedly swindled a woman of R1.2 million is expected to appear in the Bellville Regional Court on Wednesday for fraud, theft and money laundering.
SAPS said its Commercial Crime Investigations Unit arrested a 57-year-old foreign national in Maitland who was allegedly involved in the romance scam wherein he pretended to be an Italian national seeking a partner in South Africa.
Over a few months he allegedly secured R1.2 million from the victim.
Communication with the victim was done on various social media platforms.
“The suspect was detained at Bellville SAPS for fraud, theft and contravention of POCA (money laundering) and will appear in the Bellville Regional Court on Wednesday on the mentioned charges,” SAPS spokesperson FC van Wyk said.
“The suspect is part of a syndicate involved in romance scams and more arrests are to follow.”
Meanwhile, five suspects aged between 27 and 40 years were arrested in Table View for being in possession of unlicensed firearms and ammunition.
Van Wyk said the suspects were driving along Blaauwberg Road when, during a stop and search initiative, the officers indicated to the driver to pull to the side of the road.
“Once the vehicle stopped, the driver got out of the vehicle and approached the officers, who introduced themselves.
“When the driver was asked where he was coming from, he indicated that he was coming from Saldanha.
“The officers approached the vehicle and asked one of the passengers the same question, but his answer differed from the driver’s.
“Suspicion heightened, and the members decided to search the vehicle.
“All the occupants were instructed to step out of the vehicle.
“During the search, a pistol was found underneath the driver’s seat but no one wanted to own up to it.
“They are due to appear in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.”