African scammers target elderly Australian women

Police stopped a woman, 73, from boarding a plane to Africa to meet a man who claimed to love her. Another woman, Jette Jacobs, 67, had sent $200,000 to her love interest, “Jesse Omokoh.” She was found dead in Johannesburg.

Police rescue woman from flying to Africa to meet online scammer, on


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My aunt lost her home meeting a Jamaican boyfriend after a minor car accident. He talked her out of her settlement and her house.


Terrible. These people then disappear and are very hard to find. It is difficult being a lonely, older woman…even one with money. Older men with money can find women 20 years younger. But, older women usually can’t. Sexism and agism against women is too rampant.


Speaking of “sociopaths who experience no consequences,” one of the most frustrating aspects of this story is that this scumbag who calls himself “Jesse Omokoh” is not only getting away with financial and emotional rape of elderly women, but may be getting away with murder as well.

I was dissatisfied with all the unanswered questions this news report left about the death of Jette Jacobs. How did this poor lady die? Where did “Jesse Omokoh” go, and what are the South African police doing to track him down?

Fortunately we are blessed with Google, but while that did unearth a few more nuggets of information, I gravely doubt that justice will ever be done in this case.

Australian Daily Telegraph, Australia

UK Daily Mail

The story seems to be that Mrs. Jacobs, a widow with six grandchildren who lost her husband in 2002 and a subsequent partner in 2009, had been conducting an online romance with this 28-year-old Nigerian Omokoh since then. She had sent him a great deal of money, ostensibly to help him “feed starving children,” as well as for air fares and the like. Reports vary on how much she was bilked of, but it appears she was missing as much as $200,000 in assets that she used to have.

One reason this conman was so successful in milking her of virtually every penny she had is that he possessed one quality that not all psychopaths have: that is, the quality of patience. He didn’t spoil his game by trying to rip her off all at once. A notable fact is that she had already flown to Africa to see him once, back in 2010, and returned without being harmed (except financially). So she had no reason to suppose it would be unsafe to go there a second time. Meanwhile, no doubt Omokoh was taking his time, building up her false confidence in him even as he continued draining her money a little bit at a time.

At some point he had proposed marriage to Mrs. Jacobs, which got her well and truly hooked. That she could believe a quite presentable 28-year-old man would be so enduringly keen on marrying a very plain and not very bright 67-year-old woman, except for her money, only goes to show how some people will believe anything they want to believe!

Not being very bright may have made her more gullible. About the money she was raising for Omokoh to “help sick children,” she displayed her illiteracy by writing “I am try as you know to raise the money and by the way you are the only one who know this ok. I will never tell anybody what I am doing here foe you ok. That is betwin you and me ok.” Still, we know that far smarter people than she was have also been fooled.

Anyway she flew to Jo’burg on 22 November last year to see Omokoh again, although her family tried her hardest to dissuade her. Leaving when she did, she just missed receiving a letter from Project Sunbird, an operation set up in Western Australia to warn people like her that they’re probably being victimized by West African scammers. However, if her own family couldn’t knock sense into her head, anyone who thinks a letter from the police would have had any more success must be dreaming.

What happened in the next two and a half months is unclear. Suppsedly Omokoh told her he had trouble getting a visa to visit her in South Africa. Anybody who asks why she wouldn’t have flown to see him in Nigeria instead has obviously never been to that particular armpit of Africa. Just the same, it’s hard to see what justified her in sending this bunco artist an additional twenty thousand dollars to cover the cost of a visa and air fares. Maybe he had a lot of starving children to feed along the way. But at that price, I would have told the lazy bugger to WALK to Jo’burg!

Anyway it seems from reports that Omokoh showed up in Jo’burg on 7 February, and just two days later it was he who reported the death of Mrs. Jacobs in their rented villa. She had ingested a large quantity of tablets of an unspecified nature—it’s not clear how or why.

As for Omokoh, after denying any guilt in this matter, or of course any intention of scamming poor Mrs. Jacobs, he seems to have disappeared—leaving the family to fork out another wad of cash to fly their grandma’s body back to Oz. Minus another $200,000 that they should rightfully have inherited if she’d only had the sense to hang onto her money and not give it away to some conman from a Third World country.

It’s the family’s theory that Mrs. Jacobs was murdered. So to be fair, some of these news reports are jumping to conclusions by assuming outright that she was murdered. Suicide also looks like a possibility. Naturally family members would be adamantly opposed to that possibility, for more than one reason. Nobody wants to think a beloved relative or close friend would kill themselves, and of course the lady died in highly suspicious circumstances.

Was she in fact murdered? Despite the media reports, what little evidence we’ve been shown so far is highly equivocal. What motive could Omokoh have for killing his “cash cow”? As far as I can make out, poor Mrs. Jacobs had pretty much come to the end of her money, so perhaps she had no further value to this heartless scammer. And he could have done away with her to avoid exposure. But it’s not clear to me that Omokoh stood any great risk of exposure, coming as he did from another country entirely, with every prospect of disappearing and never being traced—which is exactly what he seems to have done so far. He’s vanished. Why risk committing murder, with the additional hue and cry that could raise, if it wasn’t necessary to his schemes?

And it is quite plausible that poor Mrs. Jacobs did choose to end her own life right there in Johannesburg. Especially if it became obvious to Omokoh that she had finally run out of money. He’d been making all these promises to her, including marriage—and now he had no reason to continue his charade. If his cash cow had run dry, it was time for him to discard her. Even if he tried to do this “gently”—which he might not have done at all!—one way or another it might finally have become just as obvious to Mrs. Jacobs that he’d been playing her for a sucker all these years, and she’d lost everything she had to him. What more compelling reason could there be for suicide? Her family never believed that “Mum” would ever do away with herself—but then they never believed she would have fallen for a scam like this either! Suicide is at least a strong possibility.

Of course, if she did kill herself, there’s no doubt this scumbag Omokoh is still morally responsible for her death. But if that’s what happened, regrettably it’s not the kind of crime for which he could ever be prosecuted. The most anyone could hope for is imprisonment for the fraud itself, and I wouldn’t be too sure that’s going to happen either.

And what if he did in fact murder her? The trouble is, since suicide (true or not) presents a viable alternative theory of her death, there’s every chance a jury would refuse to convict Omokoh on the grounds of “reasonable doubt.” A prosecutor might well decline to indict him for murder because the chance of conviction is low. That’s if they can lay hands on him in the first place. As many people will be aware, South Africa has an appalling murder rate, one of the worst in the world, and I’m sure police and prosecutors have other priorities.

So it looks to me as if Omokoh will be getting away with murder, whether morally or in reality: a most unsatisfactory outcome. Perhaps the best we can hope for is that in his hurry to make himself scarce, he ends up swimming a river somewhere and the crocodiles make a meal of him.

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