How Wanted Fraudster Outwitted Cops By Hiding in Her Own House For 3 Years

April 12, 2023

The proverbial 40 days of a thief came to an end last Wednesday for a wanted fraudster who managed to outwit police officers for three years by hiding in her own house.

Claire Marisiana Odimwa had skipped court appearances since 2019, facing a Sh204 million tax evasion case and a separate Sh4.9 million fraud case.

The court proceeded with the Sh4.9m fraud case in her absence and found her guilty of obtaining the money from Thomas Aul Ewald by pretending she was flying her sick relative abroad for treatment.

However, the court could not sentence her as she was nowhere to be seen. In 2020, the court canceled her bond and issued a warrant for her arrest.

Last Thursday, a Nairobi court heard that police would raid her house in Buruburu, Nairobi on numerous occasions but they could not find her.

The suspect’s luck finally ran out Wednesday when her phone signal showed she was in the house but police couldn’t find her.

The cops ransacked the house and even searched the attic but their efforts were futile.

It was not until they decided to check a closed cabinet under the stairs that they finally caught her. Marisiana had modified the space under the stairs into a hideout bunker to evade police raids.

“We checked for her in the [attic] but we could not find her, only to find her in a closed cabinet under the staircase at her Buruburu residence,” the investigating officer told the court.

The officer told Milimani Senior Principal Magistrate Martha Nanzushi that the arrest was a breakthrough “since the accused had been switching her phone on and off all this while”.

A lawyer defending Ms Marisiana claimed that she had been sick and that she had lost track of the proceedings after the court went virtual during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The magistrate informed the accused that her fraud case had proceeded in her absence and sentenced her to two years in prison.

“You were convicted in absentia and now you will serve a two-year jail term with an alternative fine of Sh300,000,” said the magistrate.

Magistrate Nanzushi ordered that Marisiana begins serving the sentence immediately since her bond had been forfeited to the State.

The court further directed that Marisiana be presented before another senior principal magistrate – Ms Wandia Nyamu – for directions in the Sh204 million tax case.

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