A woman was allegedly tricked out of £6,000 by a married man she met through an Indian matchmaking website, Shaadi.com.
Shelley Sharma, a paediatric nurse working in Dublin for the past eight years, started communicating with Rajesh Sharma whom she met on Shaadi.com.
Rajesh, a resident of Herfordshire, created his profile on the matchmaking site claiming to be a single, production engineer with a masters degree.
Shelley alleged that Rajesh tricked her into sending him money on multiple occasions and instead transferred the money into his wife's account in India.
The fraud started in January last year when Rajesh told her that he had to go to India and needed £4,000 to pay his employees, promising to pay her back. Shelley transferred the money to his account. However, it later transpired that he had not gone to India at all but had actually transferred £3,000 to his wife’s account.
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After that, Rajesh disappeared only to call Shelley back on Valentine’s Day when he claimed that he had an accident and was in England for treatment. However, on February 27, 2014, he called her once again saying that his account had been frozen and he needed £2,000 to pay for a carer. This time, Shelley was asked to send the money by Western Union, and was promised repayment in a week's time.
But it didn't stop there and on March 3, he called again and asked for a further £20,000 claiming a house he owned in Bedfordshire was about to be seized.
Shelley became suspicious and demanded her money back when he said, "Tell your dad to phone me and he can send it from India, just make a direct payment to Western Union.”
Rajesh assured her he would return the money and sent her a copy of a passport to convince her that he was genuine. But Shelley reported him to the police and wrote to his bank and it was soon revealed that the copy of the passport was fake.
Shelley filed a case against Rajesh which is being heard at the St Albans Crown Court. She told the court that she had selected his profile and started communicating with him in November 2013 via email as well as video-calling service Skype.
She also told the court that she had joined Shaadi.com in 2011 to look for “a nice decent person to marry, with my parents' consent. I hoped the person had qualifications and looked nice.”
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Answering why she had selected Rajesh, she replied, “He said he was single. He had a masters in engineering and was a production engineer. He told me he had three or four houses in London and said he had been in the UK for seven or eight years.”
When questioned by the police, Rajesh told them that Shelley had contacted him via Skype thinking that they might be related since they had the same last name.
Rajesh did not attend the trial, which is ongoing. He pleaded not guilty to three counts of fraud and one of possessing false identity documents.
This article originally appeared on Daily Mail