Friday, January 21

Romance Schemes: US indicts Nigerian National

A federal grand jury on Thursday indicted a Nigerian national residing in Canton for his alleged role in a wire and bank fraud conspiracy involving romance scams targeting individuals in the United States.

According to a report published by the United States Department of Justice on Thursday, the 41 years old Mark Arome Okuo, was indicted on one count of conspiracy to commit wire and bank fraud. 

The Daily Vendor Newspaper learnt that Okuo was arrested and charged by criminal complaint in March 2021 and has been in detention since his arrest.

The charging documents show that the 41-year old participated in a conspiracy involving romance scams designed to defraud victims into sending money to accounts he controlled.  

According to the report, Criminals perpetrating romance scams create fictitious profiles on online dating or social media websites, gain the trust of potential victims and then direct those victims to transfer money under false pretenses. 

Counting it noted that to further the conspiracy, Okuo allegedly used fake passports in the names of aliases to open bank accounts in and around Boston to receive the proceeds of the romance scams. He then allegedly executed large cash withdrawals from those accounts, generally structured in amounts less than $10,000, in an effort to evade detection.

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“The charge of conspiracy to commit wire and bank fraud provides for a sentence of up to 30 years in prison, five years of supervised release and a fine of up to $1 million or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater,” the report said.

Adding that, Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Acting United States Attorney Nathaniel R. Mendell and Matthew B. Millhollin, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston, made the announcement today.  Special assistance was provided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. Assistant U.S. Attorney Ian Stearns of Mendell’s Securities, Financial & Cyber Fraud Unit is prosecuting the case. 

The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

(United States Department of Justice)

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