Facebook scammer arrested

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A middle-aged man has been arrested by detectives and arraigned in court for engaging in fraudulent dealings and conning unsuspecting Kenyans.

Justin Mwirigi Murungi, a perennial online fraudster who has been conning clients through a non-existing online gas cylinder shop was traced and nabbed by detectives after a number of Kenyans launched complaints about his dubious dealings.

In one such instance, Robert Isiche Mzee, a resident of Langata, unknowingly found himself in the grasp of the serial fraudster.

Mzee, through hard work and grit, had made some profits and was brainstorming on the best business to invest his hard-earned money in. After much deliberations, he settled on setting up a gas vending business within the Kamulu area.

It was in November last year while he was shopping online for a place to source the cylinders when he came across a Facebook page advertising the exact business.

The page which goes by the name Heritage Gas Wholesalers had information detailing the business as dealing with gas cylinders, with several brands of cooking gas displayed. The page also had a contact number and the contact person’s name was given as Kelvin Mwangi.

After satisfactorily double-checking the page, Mzee dialled the number and made inquiries where he was assured of the availability of the gas cylinders and that the company would deliver from their warehouse located along Lumumba road, Makupa in Mombasa County.

Contented with the assurance of the fraudster, the would-be victim went ahead and placed an order of 60 gas cylinders at a total cost of 354,000 shillings.

The conman thereafter sent a quotation and requested him to pay a commitment fee of 118,000 shillings for the processing to be fast-tracked.

After brief negotiations, he accepted to waive the commitment fee to 100,000 shillings since Mzee was going to purchase the products in bulk.

The agreement was sealed, despite the fact that Mzee had no clue of who was behind the Facebook page or what he looked like.

On the 3rd day of December 2021, Mzee transferred 100,000 shillings via M-Pesa mobile money transfer to the con’s number.

He was to be paid the rest of the money upon delivery of the cylinders.

A day and another passed by without Mzee receiving the products as earlier agreed, prompting him to read malice.

Upon making calls, the scammer started giving flimsy excuses as to why the cylinders had not been delivered. He eventually failed to pick up Mzee’s calls and later resorted to blocking Him completely.

Realizing that he had been duped, the complainant made a report at Lang’ata Police station.

Detectives from DCI Lang’ata, augmented by sleuths drawn from the Crime Research and Intelligence Bureau-CRIB, applied detailed forensic analysis at the DCI National Forensic Laboratory and traced Justin Mwirigi Murungi who was immediately arrested within Thika Township.

A copy of a national ID card with the name of Kelvin Brian Mwangi was also recovered from the suspect.

The suspect appeared before the court yesterday facing multiple charges among them Conspiracy to defraud, obtaining money by false pretence and Being in unlawful possession of and unlawfully making use of the identification contrary to section 14(f) of Registration of persons Act Cap 107 Laws of Kenya.

“Other Kenyans who have been conned by the suspect are requested to visit DCI Langata and file their complaints,” said the Directorate of Criminal Investigations.

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