Moroccan woman, three aides arrested over scholarship scam

Moroccan woman, three aides arrested over scholarship scam

Bureau of Investigation and Public Prosecution (BIP)

By Adnan Al-Shabrawi
Okaz/Saudi Gazette

JEDDAH — The Bureau of Investigation and Public Prosecution (BIP) arrested a Moroccan woman and three accomplices on charges of exploitation and identity theft.

The BIP said the Moroccan woman and the three men had set up a network claiming they could obtain scholarships for students. They allegedly managed to scam SR60 million from their clients through the scheme. The Moroccan woman’s Saudi husband was also involved in the scam but he fled the country.

The BIP called some of the victims and asked them to confirm the identity of the woman who had conned them. She was arrested after her identity was confirmed. Her three accomplices were also detained and kept in custody until the investigation was over.

The bureau charged the woman with impersonating a famous person, hiring women employees without any licensing, using her own house as the place to run the scheme.

The investigations started when a number of men and women filed a complaint to the bureau saying an Arab woman had scammed over 200 students, most of them non-Saudi.

The woman claimed that she was the daughter of a famous Saudi businessman and that she would grant the students scholarships to study medicine and engineering in Saudi Arabia and abroad.

The woman claimed she worked for the Ministry of Education and she was a Shoura Council member. She also ensured the students who wish to study abroad that the scholarship would cover their tuition and accommodation.

The woman asked the students to send her copies of their high school degrees, IDs, passports and SR10,000 as registration fees. She clarified to the students that she would take a percentage of the money.

Adel Al-Saadi said he was one of the victims of the woman’s scheme and wanted her to refund him fully.

“I paid a total of SR250,000 to give three of my sons the opportunity to study abroad. She scammed me and hundreds of other families who were desperate to provide education for their children,” said Al-Saadi.