In late 2015, Jared Otieno made headlines as a luo tycoon not shy to spend his cash.
Jared travelled to Meru in style to pay dowry for his then fianceé Kendi Mwiti. Making up his convoy were many top of the range cars, police outriders and at least 4 choppers.
Jared himself drives a customized Porsche, worth a reported Sh30 million.
A few months later, Jared wed Kendi at Windsor.
See all the photos HERE.
We never got to know what Jared does, but now we do.
He is an international conman… Well, that is if Sunday’s report by Nation is to be believed.
Jared Otieno reportedly goes by an alias, Smith Mackenzie Otieno.
Australian national, Mr Christian Gallati, was on May 1, 2015 defrauded of €127,000 (Sh13.7 million), by Mr. Mackenzie.
Since then, police have listed him as being ‘at large’.
His accomplice in this fraud was one Mr Kevin Obia alias Kevin Kleigh, who was also part of Jared’s marriage ceremonies.
Mr Obia is facing charges of pretending that he could sell 7kg of gold to Mr Gallati for which he obtained the Sh13.7 million during a meeting at a hotel in Nairobi city centre. Prosecutors also allege an attempt to obtain $570,000 (Sh57 million) from Mr Gallati. This time the amount of gold the complainant was promised weighed 13kg.
Jared Otieno is suspected to be part of a Kenyan-based international ring of fraudsters, that promises to sell gold at heavily discounted prices to foreigners, but ends up not delivering after getting paid.
Sometimes they ship worthless gold-coloured pieces of scrap to buyers who have paid millions.
It is unclear whether police knew that Mr. Smith Mackenzie and Jared Otieno are one and the same man.
Another of Jared’s victim is Venezuelen Simon Aldofo Franco Ortega.
Mr. Ortega was made to believe that Jared (Mr. Mackenzie) was facilitating his sale of land in Venezuela to a member of United Arab Emirates royal family. The total amount in play was $17 million (Sh1.7 billion).
Mr. Ortega story was highlighted a few months ago, when he got stranded at a city hotel where he could not afford to pay his bill.
After months of chasing ‘Mackenzie’ for his money, Ortega realized what had just happened. He had been conned by an elaborate international criminal ring with tentacles in Kenya, Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates.
Ortega’s story started in 2014, where he went on the internet seeking a buyer for his land in order to leave Venezuela and get a better life in Panama.
“Mr Mackenzie” identified himself as a Kenyan and informed the Venezuelan that a member of the royal family in the United Arab Emirates that he was representing as an agent was interested in purchasing the land.
And there started the con. Within weeks, Ortega wired the first $105,200 (Sh10.5 million) to an account in Dubai to cater for the legal fees. He continued sending more money to facilitate various administrative or logistics issues.
He made 29 electronic funds transfer, ranging from Sh1 million to Sh21 million each. In total, he paid Mackenzie and his accomplices $1.7 million (Sh170 million).
At one time he even made the trip to Dubai, where he met ‘senior bank officials’ who assured him that the deal was clean.
He checked his balance online and it indicated a balance of $15 million (Sh1.5 billion). He was however told that he could not withdraw in Dubai, to avoid money laundering scrutiny.
“After a lot of communication, we agreed the money should be released to my contact in Kenya and thereafter wired to Panama. I received so many documents from law firms and government agencies showing everything is clean,” Mr. Ortega told Nation.
These documents eventually turned out to be fake.
After siphoning all this money from a poor Venezuelan, it’s only fair to stop right.? Wrong.
Mackenzie and his accomplices saw this as an opportunity to get more from him.
Ortega came to Kenya, and one day he was told that his ‘cargo’ had arrived. “I met him outside a restaurant near Arboretum. We went to a place where the driveway was a single lane. There were many people. They opened a box and I saw it was full of US dollars. ‘Mackenzie’ said that was my cargo,” Mr Ortega narrates.
The cargo was escorted by armed security, obviously to create an impression. It is unclear whether the money was genuine, or indeed how much was really in the box for show.
Before this cargo was given to him, he was told he had to pay some charges amounting to $101,200 (Sh10 million).
“Mr Mckenzie” told him this was supposed to pay for a “certificate of non-criminality at $65,000 (Sh6.5 million), custom handling at $23,000 (Sh2.3 million) storage at $7,400 (Sh740,000) and change of ownership at $5,800 (Sh580,000).”
“I did not have the money and so I stayed at the hotel for a full month while struggling to raise it. Finally, I paid it to a law firm as instructed. I went to his office and that is when I realised I had been conned. He told me to fly back to Panama because the money would be wired to my account by the Central Bank of Kenya,” said Mr Ortega.
Mr. Ortega reported the matter to the police, where he was told that the suspect is wanted for other cases.
The number of foreigners defrauded by Kenyans is increasing, and in most of these cases, senior police officers are said to be providing ‘protection’. Most of these cases do not even reach the courts, according to Nation.
Additional reporting by Nation.co.ke