Kazeem Owonla, 44, 313 16th Ave., Newark, N.J. was brought to the Kosciusko County Jail last week and booked on charges of corrupt business influence and theft after being arrested by police in Atlanta, Ga., on Nov. 12. (See related)
Investigation by the Kosciusko County Sherrif’s Department Officer Dalis Owens has found that from April 7 to April 28, $46,270 was deposited into Owonla’s account with $46,078.83 withdrawn during that same time period.
The investigation also found that Owonla had used the name of John Tony Hagan and Henry Tesone, as well as using a photograph of Montana Attorney General Tim Fox as himself. Fox was unaware of the photo being used.
According to the prosecutor’s office, the investigation began on June 28, when Owens responded to a theft on East Hesitation Drive, Syracuse. Owens was told by a female she had wired over $100,000 to a man she met online. The man stated his name was John Tony Hagan.
Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Detective J.D. Ayres took over the investigation and uncovered there was more than the one victim.
Talking with the first victim, police learned the money would be sent via money grams and Western Union to Bank of America. While five different names would be used, one name was that of Jacob Adewale Abiola.
The second victim sent Owonla, who used the name of Henry Tesone, a total of $11,590. A third victim, who has not yet been located, wired $8,190 to Owonla.
Two of the women met Owonla on the online dating service ZOOSK. In both cases he used the story he was working in Cairo, Egypt, as an electrical engineer and had his tools stolen, needing funds to replace them. He even told one victim that his interpreter was stabbed after getting his compensation money from the bank and needed to replace the money. Other stories dealt with needing funds to pay his workers.
It was through the account number at Bank of America police were able to uncover the scam and other victims. A surveillance video additionally showed Owonla removing money from the account.
Police learned Owonla is a Nigerian citizen in the United States on a visitor visa. He entered the United States on April 5, and his visa expired Oct. 4. The address on the visa matched that of the bank account.
Owonla is being held on $150,000 bond.