Nigerian conman dubbed ‘Fizzy’ when he scammed pensioners out of their life savings with a fake lottery to fund his champagne lifestyle still hasn’t paid back a penny to his victims eight years on

  • Frank Onyeachonam, 49, spent the money on champagne and luxury watches
  • Read more: Conman cheats pensioners out of £5million in life savings

A Nigerian lottery fraudster nicknamed ‘Fizzy’ because of his love of vintage champagne has not paid back any of the £5 million he stole from pensioners nearly a decade ago.

Frank Onyeachonam, 49, was jailed for eight years in 2014 after a jury found him guilty of conspiracy to defraud following a three week Old Bailey trial.

The father-of-two swindled hundreds of vulnerable pensioners who were led to believe they had won the Australian lottery after receiving a bogus letter.

Targeting mainly American pensioners, the letters were sent by a ‘lottery agent’ who informed them they had won a life-changing prize and they needed to send a modest sum to release the funds. 

Believing they had a stroke of good fortune, victims were hooked into paying fees to release their ‘winnings’ through an agent who would demand ‘activation fees’ to release their cash.

Nigerian Frank Onyeachonam, 49, drove a Maserati and fired bubbly corks across exclusive private members clubs as he lived a life of fantastic luxury

The father-of-two primarily duped elderly American victims out of hundreds and thousands of pounds using an ‘advance free’ fraud scheme

Onyeachonam was dubbed ‘Fizzy’ because of his love of vintage champagne 

In some cases victims set up businesses in an attempt to receive their winnings and became unwitting money mules laundering cash from other victims.

After being jailed in 2014, Onyeachonam, formerly of Canning Town in east London, was ordered to pay back just £158,000 in terms of his realisable assets in June 2015.

Judge Alexia Durran said there was now an application from Onyeachonam’s lawyer Stephen Earnshaw to vary the amount under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Mr Earnshaw said: ‘As of September 2015 Mr Onyeachonam had to pay that amount from the single asset property in Nigeria.

‘The property has not been sold and full amount remains outstanding. The property was not restrained. The CPS and the NCA and those involved in the enforcement in Nigeria tried to bring about the enforcement of the asset.’

Onyeachonam remains subject to immigration bail conditions in the UK and cannot leave the country.

Mr Earnshaw told the court: ‘The prejudice to Mr Onyeachonam is that until that money is realised there are limits in terms of what he can do in terms of leaving this country and working in this country.’

The 49-year-old had a collection of luxury watches and designer shoes

Onyeachonam’s nicknamed ‘Fizzy’ displayed in bank notes

Pictured is a property in Nigeria, owned by Onyeachonam who was jailed for eight years in 2014

Judge Durran said: ‘The application to the court is to determine the property is impossible to realise and remove that as an asset.

‘I have Googled the Nigerian legal system and it would seem not as digital as ours. The test is a determination of whether or not the asset is impossible to be realised. If impossible the confiscation order can be varied.

‘We are waiting for the Nigerian authority to respond or process the application. I am not satisfied it is yet impossible to realise. These things take time. The challenges of the Nigerian system, the lack of IT, paperwork may be put on the wrong file or tray, files may be lost and so on.

‘The officer in the case and those before him will continue to send documentation and it seems to me to be wrong at this stage to say the asset is impossible to realise.

‘I’m afraid the order remains in place.’

Onyeachonam was originally convicted of conspiracy to defraud between January 2005 and December 2012 and jailed for eight years.

He had been ordered to pay back £158,149 or face another three years in jail, but the amount remains to be paid.

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