Four besotted women duped out of almost £100,000 by a lonely hearts conman posing as a Marine commando will be paid back just a few hundred pounds each after a police auction of his luxury possessions.
Nigerian immigrant Adewale Adewole, 31, posed as Royal Marine commando Timmy Francis on the dating website Match.com
He falsely claimed to run an orphanage in Africa and was looking for romance under the motto: ‘To live and love’ and the online nickname ‘Charismatic Brit’.
But after charming the unsuspecting women, he then claimed he needed money saying he had been mugged while attending to his ‘orphanage’.
The women all sent him cash and paid his hotel bills – only for him to transfer the money into the bank account of his wife who shared his home with their two children in Eccles, Greater Manchester.
Police who caught up with father-of-three Adewole discovered he had used the women’s cash to splash out on iPads, TVs and designer clothes plus electronic and musical items such as a glitterball and a keyboard thought to be worth in total tens of thousands of pounds.
But after he was jailed for four years, officers auctioned off the confiscated items in a bid to repay the victims – only for it to yield just £2,000.
It means the women will get back only hundreds of pounds each – with one victim getting just £199.
It is not known what happened to £4,500 in cash which Adewole kept under his bed and insisted was his.
At a proceeds of crime hearing at Manchester Crown Court, prosecutor Miss Louise Brandon said: ‘The value of the loss was £98,140 and from that there is an available amount of £2,213.71 but the prosecution have four complainants who lost considerable amounts of money.
‘The available items were mainly electrical that the police auctioned off so it would mean getting that money from the auction. The compensation orders have been reached proportionally but unfortunately it is no where near what they did give but it is all we can get. The complainants are fully aware that it was unlikely they would get it back.’
At an earlier court hearing Miss Brandon said the four victims were registered with Match.com and did not know each other.
She added: ‘They were all contacted on the dating site by a man called Timmy Francis who had two profiles under the mottos ‘To Live and Love’ and ‘Charismatic Brit’. They had contact with him during the period the fraud took place via text message, phone and email.
‘He told them he had been a captain in the army. He also said he ran an orphanage in Africa called the Hope House Foundation, for which he set up a website including own mobile phone number.
‘There was a profile picture on his Match accounts and he sent some of the women photographs of himself – all of these pictures were actually of a Royal Marine Commander called Joshua McGowan who knew nothing of what was going on.
‘Each of the women wanted to find out more about him and were led to believe they were in a relationship with him. Although they arranged to meet, he never kept to the arrangements and never did meet any of the victims.
Miss Brandon added: ‘He told the women that on a trip to Africa he was the victim of a crime and needed money. The crime meant he could not access his own funds. He said they would get their money back and would be sent letters from the World Health Organisation to show that he would be able to pay them.
‘These letters were sent, but from an M30 Manchester postmark. He also sent them links to websites which, when logging in with details he gave them, appeared to show that he had a huge bank balance and would eventually be able to pay them back.
‘One woman was asked to pay for a hotel for him. When she rang the number he gave her for the hotel, they also confirmed the information and she agreed to pay it. She later received a cheque addressed to him for £35,000 to prove he had money, but this was later discovered to be a stolen cheque forged in his own handwriting.
‘Over a number of months each woman transferred significant sums of money via bank accounts and Western Union moneygrams and sent items to the defendant’s home address. They bought electronic items, took out credit cards and loans and bought clothes from Next. Many of the goods were sent to his home address in Eccles from where the victims believed they would be forwarded on to the defendant in Nigeria.
‘When the women stopped sending money they never heard from him again.’
The court heard the total amount stolen including the value of the household goods and Western Union transfers was £98,140.
Adewole was arrested in October 2012 at his flat and £4,500 in cash was found under his bed. A digital camera was found purchased by one of the victims, but containing pictures of the defendant and his wife and children. Designer clothes and shoes were also found worth £2,000 alone.
Adewole’s wallet was also seized and contained several SIM cards, some of which contained the phone numbers of the victims. His two Blackberry phones were also seized – on these three different email accounts were in use which were linked to the two Match accounts. He was bailed and later tried to call one of the woman again under the name Timmy Francis and was arrested again.
When questioned he claimed to know nothing of the orphanage but that the £4,500 was his. He said the majority of the items found in his flat were to go to his mother in Nigeria. He admitted he had used Match.com in 2010, 2011 and 2012 but could not remember when exactly.
The victims known only as Miss E, Miss A, Miss W and Miss H will get back just £863.38, £332.07, £199.26 and £819.10 respectively.
Defence counsel Mr Khadim Al’Hassan said: ‘I’m surprised by the amount from the auctions, it must have been a really bad day because they were all new items.’