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Pair await sentences over £1.6m 'romance scam'

Two men convicted of duping a woman out of £1.6 million on a dating site in what police have described as a "romance scam" are due to be sentenced.

The victim befriended a man who she thought was a well-to-do engineer on a dating website.

She was then convinced to loan money over a period of 10 months to the man, and others who posed as his associates.

Ife Ojo, 31, from Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, and Olusegun Agbaje, 43, from Hornchurch, Essex, will appear at Basildon Crown Court for sentencing on Friday.

The pair, who have been remanded in custody, have both pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud for their part in the scam.

The Met Police said in the last year they have investigated the loss of £4 million to 100 victims who have been "ruthlessly manipulated by men and women pretending they love them".

Police said those subjected to the scams are usually showered with compliments as they speak to the suspects online or on the phone for lengthy periods each day.

Detective Chief Inspector Gary Miles said: "Romance scams are not the most prevalent fraud but the financial and emotional impact to victims is huge. Many victims borrow money from friends and family to pay the suspects."

He said victims often feel embarrassed and ashamed when they realise they have been scammed, but urged people to come forward and report if they think they have been defrauded.

"Victims of this fraud must understand that they are not foolish and they are not alone - the reality is that the fraudsters are extremely manipulative and go to great lengths to convince their victims they are in love and desperately in need of their financial assistance," he added.

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