Nigerian jailed four years in US over $2.5m online romance scam

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Afeez Adebara, a 36-year-old Nigerian, has been sentenced to four years in a US prison for “managing a group of money launderers” in an online romance scam that defrauded multiple people to the tune of $2.5 million.

Adebara was said to have pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering in November 2020.According to a press statement by the United States department of justice, northern district of Oklahoma, Adebara and his co-conspirators concealed proceeds of “romance scam operation” by moving money between and among multiple bank accounts using fake documents“An Oklahoma man was sentenced today in the Northern District of Oklahoma to four years in prison for managing a group of money launderers in an online Nigerian romance scam that defrauded multiple victims, including elderly individuals across the United States, and caused losses of at least $2.5 million,” the statement reads.

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“According to court documents and testimony, between 2017 and November 2019, Adebara and co-conspirators knowingly concealed the proceeds of a romance scam operation by moving money between and among multiple bank accounts that were opened under various aliases using fake passports and other fraudulent identification documents to obscure the source of the funds and the identities of the co-conspirators.“Thereafter, Adebara took further steps to conceal the source of the funds, took a commission for himself, and directed the remainder of the funds back to the online romance scammers in Nigeria, including in the form of vehicles and vehicle parts.“Adebara coordinated with overseas co-conspirators who had assumed false identities on online dating websites and social media platforms to defraud victims.

“Adebara opened multiple accounts using fraudulent identities, then provided the account and routing numbers to the overseas co-conspirators.“The overseas co-conspirators told victims that they were U.S. residents working or travelling abroad. As the online relationships continued, the overseas co-conspirators requested increasingly larger sums of money, with the claimed purpose that the funds were needed to complete business projects or for them to return to the United States.“The victims were directed by the overseas co-conspirators to send funds to certain bank accounts, with the assurance that the money would purportedly be allocated as needed”.The case is said to be part of an ongoing national effort to “address online fraud schemes, including those based out of Nigeria, that target US citizens and residents”.

The ministry said several Nigerians have been sentenced to different terms in prisons in the crime-related offences.

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