LOOK: Boyfriend and ‘prophetess’ arrested after a woman lost R650,000 in love scam, luxury cars seized by Hawks

Two vehicles carried on a flatbed

The Hawks in Limpopo seized a BMW X6 and a Mercedes-Benz coupé after a Limpopo woman was scammed of R650,000 she borrowed from a bank. Picture: Hawks

Published Dec 14, 2023


A suspected 27-year-old dating scammer and his 32-years-old accomplice are on Thursday expected to appear before the Polokwane Magistrate's Court, following their arrest earlier this week.

The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (also known as the Hawks) said during the month of September, an unsuspecting woman “randomly met” the 27-year-old man in Polokwane.

He was driving a white Mercedes-Benz, and the Hawks said after that September encounter, the 27-year-old man and the 39-year-old woman started dating.

“While enjoying the new love, the victim (the woman) told the suspect (the boyfriend) about her personal problems and the suspect promised to hook her up with the spiritual healer, a ‘prophetess’, who was going to cast away all her problems,” Hawks spokesperson in Limpopo, Lieutenant Colonel Matimba Maluleke said.

The 39-year-old woman alleges that she was introduced to the so-called prophetess, who told her she was going to assist in getting rid of the problems.

“According to the victim, they engaged in prayers with the suspect (the boyfriend) and the ‘prophetess’ for about a week,” said Maluleke.

“In one of the prayer sessions, the prophetess came driving a BMW X6, carrying R4 million hard cash in a bag. The victim was told the money was hers, from her ancestors, but she had to pay 10 percent of the total amount in order to get it.”

The Hawks in Limpopo seized a BMW X6 and a Mercedes-Benz coupé after a Limpopo woman was scammed of R650,000 she borrowed from a bank. Picture: Hawks

As the 39-year-old woman did not have money, she went to the bank and applied for a loan of R650,000 and she gave it to the “prophetess”.

After a while, the woman tried to contact her boyfriend and the prophetess but they were not reachable.

“While the victim was still confused, she allegedly received a call from a property rental agent in Polokwane, enquiring about the luxury house she rented at a place called Woodhill Estate in Polokwane,” said Maluleke.

The 39-year-old woman insists she had never rented such a place. She then discovered that her particulars were fraudulently used in the transaction, and she reported the matter to the Hawks.

“On November 27, members of the Hawks visited the address at Woodhill Estate and found two vehicles, the white Mercedes-Benz and the BMW X6 parked in the garage that was wide open. Unfortunately, nobody was found inside the house, but the vehicles were seized as they were previously used by the suspect and the accomplice when they met with the victim,” said Maluleke.

The Hawks in Limpopo seized a BMW X6 and a Mercedes-Benz coupé after a Limpopo woman was scammed of R650,000 she borrowed from a bank. Picture: Hawks

On December 12, Maluleke said information was received that another Mercedes-Benz vehicle that was used by the boyfriend had been spotted in Potchefstroom, North West province.

“Through a proper coordination, the vehicle was followed and the suspect, together with his accomplice, were arrested,” the Hawks said.

Meanwhile, provincial head of the Hawks in Limpopo, Major General Gopz Govender has expressed gratitude to the investigation team for cracking “such a complex case”.

Govender said several dating scams were being investigated across the province.

“We are investigating a number of dating scam cases in the province where the victims lost their fortunes in the name of love. I am happy that today we managed to make a breakthrough by arresting the alleged scammers,” he said.

“I believe more arrests will be made in other cases that are still under investigation.”

The Hawks have swooped on two alleged dating scammers, and warned women to be cautious. Picture: SAPS

Last month, the Hawks in Limpopo issued a warning to South African women to be vigilant amid a “rapid increase of dating scam incidents” recorded across the province.

The warning came after a 60-year-old Polokwane-based woman was scammed out of more than R800,000 of her pension money by a boyfriend who then vanished into thin air.

“According to the victim, who was employed by the Department of Education in Limpopo province as a teacher, randomly met a guy at a shopping complex in Polokwane in the beginning of the year,” Lieutenant Colonel Maluleke said at the time.

“The suspect allegedly proposed love to the victim, who was due for retirement at the age of 60 in June this year.”

The teacher told police that while waiting for her pension to pay out in September, she visited the boyfriend’s rented house in Ivy Park, Polokwane.

“According to the victim, she was taken to one of the rooms in the house by the suspect so that she could be introduced to the ancestors. While inside the room, the victim alleged that she heard a voice coming from nowhere, telling her that she had been suffering for a very long time, but her suffering was over, as there was an amount of R3.8 million waiting for her.”

The woman said the boyfriend kept asking for money “in order to redeem her fortune of R3.8 million”.

The unwitting, yet educated woman paid over R800,000 to the boyfriend, but later started to become suspicious.

A former teacher was scammed of her R800,000 pension by a boyfriend in Limpopo. File Picture: SAPS

“While in her suspicions, she allegedly visited the suspect at his place, but she found that no one was there. When she enquired from the neighbours about the whereabouts of the suspect, they told her that a few days ago, the suspect came with a moving truck, took his stuff, and left,” said Maluleke.

The Hawks said such cases have become frequent.

“Since the cases of fraud and dating scams are continuing to be reported to the Hawks, the potential victims - particularly well-to-do single/widowed women - are advised to be careful of the scammers who would come into their lives in the name of love,” said Maluleke.

According to the Hawks, the scammers mainly target the following categories of single women:

– Women with stable jobs, and the scammers often convince them to resign.

– Women who are recently divorced and have acquired some assets, and the scammers convince them to register assets under their names or to sell off the assets.

– Women who are in business, and the scammers come up with fake business proposals that need funding.

– Women who have inherited considerable wealth.

– Women who are about to retire.

– Women who are widows.