Massachusetts Court Convicts Ghanaian Man Involved In $8m Romance Scam Fraud Scheme

| How Africa News


A federal judge in Boston sentenced a Ghanaian national to 4 1/2 years in prison after he admitted his role in a romance fraud scam that stole more than $8 million from victims.

The Department of Justice claimed in a March 21 statement that 30-year-old Kofi Osei and his colleagues typically targeted elderly persons in their romantic frauds.

Authorities claimed that between 2016 and 2020, the guilty individual used phony passports and pseudonyms to open at least 77 bank accounts. He is accused of using those accounts to receive and promptly take monies from the victims of fraud.

“Osei’s co-conspirators created and used fictitious online dating profiles to capitalize on the victims’ desire for companionship, gain their trust, and direct victims to transfer money based on lies,” the Department of Justice said in the statement. “Osei coordinated with his co-conspirators to receive the fraud proceeds into the bank accounts he opened. He then withdrew the fraud proceeds in cash or with a cashier’s check, sending a portion back to his co-conspirators.”

Officials reported that approximately $8 million in fraud proceeds were collected, with $4 million of the cash moving straight into accounts formed and controlled by Osei. Authorities also stated that some of the money from the romance fraud were used to purchase cars, which were then moved to Nigeria and sold, according to The Associated Press.

According to court filings, one of their romantic scams featured a Florida lady who was notified that her claimed online boyfriend had been arrested following an explosion on his oil rig. After being told that the monies were required to enable her partner’s release, the victim was forced to wire over $200,000 to accounts owned by Osei.

Osei’s account also received $65,000 from another victim after she was alerted of an accident at her online boyfriend’s abroad employment. The victim was persuaded that the money would be used to help injured workers in the accident as well as to obtain the release of her imprisoned boyfriend. Authorities noted that the victim was “financially and emotionally destroyed” as a result of the swindle.

Osei was apprehended by authorities in February 2021. He also pleaded guilty to seven counts of making a false statement to a bank, six counts of wire fraud, and two counts of money laundering prior to his conviction. In September 2022, he entered his plea. In addition to the prison term, Osei was ordered to pay $4,122,558 in restitution and forfeiture.

According to court filings, Osei’s attorney stated that the condemned man legitimately came to the United States with the intention of becoming a professional soccer player, adding that he was raised in poverty in his home Ghana. The defense also requested leniency from the court, stating that Osei was a loving parent who regretted his conduct, and that Osei, who had no past criminal history, had made “a terrible and foolish judgment.”

Written by How Africa News

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