Cardiff siblings were at the heart of 'handsome Italian' internet dating fraud

A global crime operation was brought crashing down after a lovestruck victim realised she had been duped by a fake lonely hearts profile of a “handsome Italian”.

South Wales Police unearthed the worldwide scam, which claimed victims as far afield as Kuwait, Vietnam and Canada, after a money trail led to three Cardiff siblings.

The sheer scale of the deception, which involved hundreds of thousands of pounds, was laid bare yesterday as eight people were sentenced for their role in laundering cash from dozens of victims.

The complex web of deceit unravelled when police were contacted by a woman from Brooklyn, New York, who fell in love online with the “handsome Italian” she was sent pictures of through the dating website, and who said he lived in the UK.

As their relationship developed he claimed he wanted to move to the US to start a new life with her but needed a cash advance of £7,700 to sell up here.

More requests followed until she had sent money to an account which was traced to Minhaj Uddin in Cardiff.

Officers searched his family’s Axminster Road house and discovered a diary with hand written lists of money received from numerous victims, and showing where it had gone.

The list led to arrests in Manchester and Liverpool and the discovery of some £765,000 in total having been received from victims.

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