Wembley conman convicted of £18m fraud is caught after 10 years on the run

A fugitive conman from Wembley who was on the run for almost 10 years after duping an elderly woman into giving him cash by posing as a foreign diplomat has been arrested at Heathrow Airport this morning.

Anthony Ekwueme, 42, of Monks Park, swindled his victim after promising to give her £18m if she handed him £3,000.

He fled the country ahead of his trial in December 2006 for conspiracy to defraud and was subsequently convicted and jailed for four years in his absence.

The trickster was held by officers at passport control and has appeared at Southwark Crown Court charged with failing to surrender to custody.

Prosecutor Peter Zinner said: “The defendant was found guilty of three counts of conspiracy to defraud at trial in December 2006, he was on bail but failed to appear in court.

“He posed as a diplomat and met with the victim, promising to give her £18m if she invested £3,000 with him.

“He was found guilty following a trial in his absence on December 12, 2006, and sentenced to four years concurrent, on each count, on January 26, 2007.

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“He was arrested at the airport coming back to the UK this morning, details on how he came to arrive back here are not presently available’.

The court heard that Ekwueme used two aliases, Solomon Ezeh and Eke Ihukunere, while pretending to be a foreign diplomat.

Judge Alistair McCreath said that the conman will face extra years behind bars for failing to surrender when he sentences him on April 25.

Ekwueme spoke only to confirm his identity and correct Judge McCreath on the pronunciation of his name during the brief hearing.