"Love is blind," they say. This old adage still holds true today, as seen in the case of a Singaporean woman who bore the child of a Malaysia-based Nigerian love scammer and even acted as his money mule.
In a report by Channel News Asia, 32-year-old Suhaili Suparjo faced the consequences for acting as Awolola Oladayo Opeyemi's money mule and illegally obtaining more than $356,000 (P19 million) in criminal proceeds for him. She was sentenced to being locked away in a prison cell for 15 months.
Her actions were a result of being "blinded by love" for Opeyemi, who was a part of a Nigerian criminal group based in Malaysia that conducted scams around the globe.
Suparjo became an unwitting victim in Opeyemi's love scam, having been manipulated to start a romantic relationship with him before it eventually turned to her becoming an accomplice in his money laundering scheme.
According to Suparjo's lawyer, Yamuna Balakrishnan, the two of them met on Facebook in late 2016 and Suparjo entertained Opeyemi's advances as she was "intrigued by the fact that a man of a different nationality was taking interest in her."
Convinced by his seemingly legitimate social media profile, Suparjo decided to date her so-called "dream guy" until their relationship eventually gave them a daughter.
It was at that time that Opeyemi started to use her as a money mule, asking to use Suparjo's bank account to transfer and withdraw money that he said came from an overseas friend.
Reports stated that Suparjo would receive cash in person and used one of her bank accounts to receive a total of $255,935 (P14 million) from four victims in Singapore, Canada and Macau in 2017. She then transferred the money to Opeyemi by traveling all the way to Malaysia.
Even after Suparjo found out about what was really going on, she still continued with the scheme.
This was because of Opeyemi's gaslighting methods, where he would threaten her with: "If you choose to leave me, you will end up being a single mom and raise this child alone."
After she gave birth to their child, her criminal lover was said to have been an absent parent and did not so much as give any financial assistance for his own daughter.
Ultimately, the shady scheme was unearthed by authorities, leading to the arrest of Opeyemi and another scammer in 2019. They were then extradited to Singapore for prosecution, where Opeyemi was sentenced to 60 months of imprisonment in 2021.
Suparjo was meanwhile given a shorter jail time, as she was the only one her daughter relied on for support.