Facebook swindler arrested after home seeker loses US$19k

HARARE – A 50-year-old Chitungwiza man has been charged with fraud over an elaborate scam in which he posted adverts on Facebook pretending to be an estate agent selling residential stands.

In reality, prosecutors say Shepherd Munemo is a swindler who weaved together a con in which an identity card was fraudulently altered to give the impression that one of his associates was the owner of title deeds in respect of a housing stand in Sunway City, Harare.

Harare magistrate Yeukai Dzuda on Tuesday heard that on December 26 last year, Munemo posted an advert on Facebook stating that he was selling stands of between 400 and 2,500 meters.

The victim, who was not named in court, saw the advert and called the number provided. They spoke to one Petro Museula who arranged that the victim speaks to one Tatenda Kimberly Kahondo who in turn introduced the home seeker to the purported seller, Grace Mandisodza.

The court heard that the victim was shown a stand measuring 2,146 square meters.

The home seeker engaged Harare lawyer Blessing Nyamwanza to do due diligence and Nyamwanza reported back that the details on the title deeds matched the identity particulars provided by Mandisodza.

An agreement of sale was drawn up between the unnamed buyer and Mandisodza. The signing was filmed by the lawyers and the victim paid a deposit of US$19,000.

Prosecutor Lynette Gwarisa said Kahondo later discovered she had been used in a con after seeing a fraud alert on Facebook. She went to the police leading Mandisodza’s arrest. She in turn implicated Munemo.

Police discovered that Mandisodza’s face had been super imposed on the ID card of Florence Munyanyi, the real owner of the housing stand.

Munemo’s bail hearing continues on Wednesday.

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