Nigerian Malta based professional footballer, Sunday Eboh, has been arrested and charged alongside four others for money laundering in an internet romance scam case.
Eboh, a Maltese national Alexandra Pace, Nigerian nationals Collins Eguavoen, Marvis Iyeke and Tony Ogbonna were all arrested late Monday night to be charged with money laundering.
Police said that an elderly Maltese woman fell victim to the fraud after engaging in an online relationship with who she thought was an American soldier deployed in Afghanistan. The soldier was supposedly returning to Malta once his deployment ended.
Despite never meeting with the soldier, the woman took the relationship seriously enough to transfer €58,000 to the US soldier who allegedly asked her to pay for his expenses.
Investigations by the police revealed the alleged fraud was being carried out in the country by a group of people who moved the money in bits around in different bank accounts and laundered.
Police were able to identify the five individuals aged 28 to 58 behind the scam before rounding them up. Although no bank account was traced to him, police suspect Ogbonna is the brain behind the operation.
Eboh has played for a host of Maltese teams, namely Marsa, Birkirkara, Victoria Hotspurs, Marsaxlokk, Floriana, Naxxar Lions, Birzebbugia, and Pembroke. He also played for Greek side Apollon Smyrnis.
Magistrate Doreen Clarke refused bail after the prosecution raised fears that the accused could tamper with evidence or approach the vulnerable victim.
This is the first case where perpetrators of romance scam are charged.