Former Fitness Teacher Allegedly Scams Scores Of Dubai Expats Out Of Millions Of Dirhams In A Currency Exchange Fraud
A former British PE teacher is currently being investigated by the Dubai Police after being accused by dozens of her alleged involvement with a million-dirham currency exchange scam in Dubai.
According to MailOnline, victims of the scam revealed how the ‘charming’ 34-year-old often introduced herself as Imogen Smith and Dawn Smith – her two fake names.
The British expat made her move to the UAE nearly a decade ago to take up a job in an international school as a PE teacher was pretty active in the nightlife scene in Dubai and was frequently featured in club photo rounds. Originally from Burnley, Lancashire, the fraudster was arrested on Christmas Eve 2019, in Dubai over a bounced cheque case – which was later settled with the complainant, however, led to accused spending 15 days in police custody.
Due to the cheque bounce case, she is not allowed to leave the UAE until her outstanding debts to the complainant are cleared.
Over the last couple of months, the Brit allegedly conned a score of Dubai expats – especially those severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic- out of more than AED 1,374,410 (£300,000) to exchange
In a report released by MailOnline, there are claims that the 34-year-old ran a scam that mostly targetted Emirates cabin crew members who recently lost their jobs due to the pandemic.
The former fitness teacher offered to exchange their Dirhams for Euros or dollars at the market swap rate, as a means to avoid the high charges made by banks and currency exchange dealers.
Victims found and contacted the accused via a Facebook page for out of work cabin crew based in Dubai, seeking to exchange their money.
Victims of the scam who initially complained to the Dubai Police were waved off after being told that they cannot take criminal action as the transaction was made in person with no bank involvement or a binding legal contract.
Those pressing on making a case were advised to appeal to the Dubai civil courts and hire lawyers, however, the cost of the entire process would override the amount they were scammed out of so many dropped the pursuit.
Reported victims of the money exchange scam include businessmen, cabin crew members, pilots and foreign workers laid off in the UAE due to the pandemic
One victim was a 36-year-old Aussie cabin crew member who was conned out of AED 27,494.94 (£6,000), who handed over the money to the fraudster outside of her apartment in Dubai Marina.
Another victim who spoke up was a British pilot who lost AED 50,407 (£22,000), trying to transfer the money to Madrid as a means to pay for his father’s funeral after he passed away from contracting the novel virus.
A UK businessman in his 50s was scammed out of AED 192,464 (£42,000), trying to convert pounds into dirhams in a cost-effective way to open up a resto here in the city.
An Australian hostess lost AED 29,786 (£6,500) via the scam and is hoping that the fraudster is brought to justice.