Professor conned out of £330k by Tinder swindler pretending to be Dutch engineer

A professor at a leading Dutch business school was conned out of hundreds of thousands of pounds after being fooled into thinking that an African student living in Turkey was a leading Dutch engineer.

Fraudster Alie Koroma contacted grieving Belgian mum Carolina Berrocal through Tinder and convinced her that he was Patrick Anderson – an engineer working on road and bridge projects.

The mother of two, who is a professor at Rotterdam International Business School, explained that she rapidly become friendly with Koroma, and that at one point he told her he was moving to Istanbul to buy machinery and parts.

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Once he was there, he had allegedly asked her to send him $300,000 (about £270,000) to complete the purchase of the machines, as although he had $690,000 (£565,000) in his account, technical problems were preventing him from accessing it.

In order to prevent his embarrassment, she forwarded the cash. But then further demands came, including $5,000 (£4,100) for shipping and another $8,500 (£7,000) after he claimed he was stuck at the hotel.

The demands escalated, with a contractor who needed to be paid $48,000 (£39,000) and then $27,000 (£22,100) to support his struggling business.

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When Carolina made the final payment and asked when she would get the money back, the conman threatened to cut off the ties, and also promised that if she paid another $200,000, she would have $10million transferred into her account.

Realising that things were not as they seemed, Carolina, who lost her husband in 2020, alerted prosecutors in Istanbul.

She also hired a lawyer, and after more detailed research discovered that “Patrick Anderson” was in fact a student from Sierra Leone named Alie Koroma.

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She found that the pictures she had been sent were actually of an American life coach, and that the fraudster had targeted another woman in Romania, who was studying in the faculty of political sciences at Istanbul's Marmara University.

The prosecutor's office in Istanbul has now launched an investigation.

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