Nigerian jailed for WA property scam

Mastermind: Ntuen Promise Ekenmini. Picture: Supplied

The mastermind of an elaborate attempted WA house sale scam, who tried to sell a $780,000 home in Falcon using forged documents, has been jailed for a year by a Nigerian court.

Authorities swooped on Ntuen Promise Ekenmini at an international courier office last year, as he tried to collect documents for the sale of a WA property using a forged licence in the name of the South African-based owners.

After being charged and convicted of five counts, including conspiracy to defraud, attempt to obtain money by false pretences and forgery, Lagos High Court Justice Kudirat Jose jailed Ekenmini for a year.

Consumer bosses are hailing the co-operation of State, Federal and overseas authorities in securing the conviction, saying it proved foreign scam artists were not above the law.

Ekenmini's arrest came after a multinational eight-month investigation by WA's major fraud squad, Australian Federal Police and authorities in South Africa and Nigeria.

The attempted fraud began when a property manager of a Mandurah real estate agent was contacted in December 2012 by a man claiming to be the owner of a home managed by the agency.

He requested property documents, which were sent through, and contact details changed.

A month later, the agency received a request to sell the property and a sales agreement with false signatures was sent, along with copies of fake passports of the two owners, and forged documents purporting to be from the Australian High Commission in Pretoria confirming their identity.

But agency staff became suspicious, and after WA's fraud squad was contacted, they pretended to go ahead with the sale to try to identify the fraudsters.

Federal Police then liaised with South African and Nigerian police, who tracked down Ekenmini.

"It had generally been thought that people attempting to perpetrate frauds from Nigeria were beyond the reach of the law," Consumer Protection assistant commissioner Gary Newcombe said.

"This prosecution shows that, while difficult, prosecution is not impossible.

"The imprisonment of Mr Ekenmini should send a strong message to other potential fraudsters in Nigeria that they are not beyond the law."

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting