Lady Who Lured Kenyans Into Ksh 500 Million Scam

  • Nuzrat Sharif was arrested within Nyali in Mombasa County on Friday, February 21, 2020
    Nuzrat Sharif was arrested within Nyali in Mombasa County on Friday, February 21, 2020
    Twitter
  • Nuzrat Sharif's proverbial 40 days of a cheat came to their end on Friday 21, 2020 when she was arrested in Nyali, Mombasa.

    The 31-year old who was on the run from 2017 is believed to be the brains behind the 'Simple Homes' real estate scam.

    The con which finally unravelled in 2017 showed how Dinm Evitarec Limited, a company linked to the suspect, fleeced millions from Kenyans by selling them nonexistent homes.

    The Director of Criminal Investigations, George Kinoti.
    The Director of Criminal Investigations, George Kinoti.
    Daily Nation

    The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) asked victims of the scam to make reports at the Langata DCI offices. 

    "We call upon those who may have fallen victim of these fraudsters to make a formal report at Lang'ata DCI offices,” read part of a statement on their official twitter handle.

    But how did a con fleece Kenyans of  Ksh 500 million?

    It was a pretty simple play: buyers were sold a rent-to-buy scheme where they could own an exquisite home in a few years by putting down a small deposit on the property.

    The houses, sold through a well-crafted advertisement scheme and carefully selected google images, brought in hordes of Kenyans eager to join the ranks of home-owners.

    All that was required of the hopefuls was a Ksh 350,000 deposit on the houses with each going for Ksh 7 million.

    The con was so well executed that a former chief magistrate, Joyce Manyasi,  was one of those who fell for the scam. 

    Yet for those who were swindled, it was easy to see where the hook and sinker lay.

    For one, the company executed a virtually perfect marketing campaign tapping into the trust people place on what they can see. Glossy images of fantasy houses pushed even skeptics towards the plan.

    The sinker was the fact that the Simple Homes offered interest-free hire purchase options for those who put down the deposit. After that, they could own their homes. 

    The scam finally unraveled after eager buyers visited the alleged building sites to be greeted by rubble, sand, and air. 

    "I was to go for a site visit for a property in Lang’ata in January, but when I called them to inquire at the middle of the month, they pushed the site visit to April. After a while, the phones went dead," said Harun Mwaniki, one of those who had paid the required deposit. 

    After people started sharing their stories, the scam was a decisively killed by a simple google reverse search.

    This simple strategy proved that the picture-perfect houses advertised were not in Kenya, not even on the continent. They were 'borrowed' from real estate sites in the US.