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Alleged fraudster 'conned newly-widowed woman out of over £7,000'

An alleged fraudster conned a newly-widowed woman into lending him more than £7,000 after they met in a Belfast bar, the High Court has heard.

Prosecutors claimed London-based Lawrence Nwachukwu told her the money was for a deposit on a house.

The 36-year-old married Nigerian national was said to have kept his true identity hidden from the woman. He denies the allegations, and claims she paid for his flights and hotel accommodation during trips to Northern Ireland.

Nwachukwu, of no fixed abode, has been charged with multiple counts of fraud by false representation, possessing articles for use in fraud, and using a false instrument with intent.

He was granted bail to live at an agreed address in Belfast, but ordered not to leave Northern Ireland and banned from contacting the alleged victim.

The court heard yesterday he met the woman at a bar in March, telling her he was an American living in England. He claimed to be in Belfast on business and developed a friendship with her during the course of a number of visits, according to the prosecution.

Crown counsel Kate McKay said the woman gave him £4,000 in cash and then a further £3,200.

The court was told the woman did not hear from Nwachukwu again after handing over the second bundle of cash.

The accused was tracked down after inquiries were made at the Ramada Encore Hotel where the woman had once driven him.

He was arrested in June as he travelled from Belfast to Gatwick in London.

The judge said the behaviour alleged by the Crown involved fraud on a "not insignificant scale".

Belfast Telegraph