Six Nigerians, one American and two Ghanaians, including a soccer player Abdul Osumanu have been indicted by a federal grand jury sitting in Charleston, West Virginia, for romance scams.
The men were indicted for defrauding at least 200 victims, many of whom are elderly, of at least $2.5 million. According to a report by the Department of Justice, Osumanu’s gang members were identified as follows:
Kenneth Emeni, 29, a citizen of Nigeria, residing in Martinsburg, West Virginia; John Nassy, 27, a citizen of Nigeria, residing in a suburb of Washington, D.C.; Kenneth Ogudu, also known as Kenneth Lee, 28, a citizen of Nigeria, residing in Columbus, Ohio; Oluwagbenga Harrison, 30, a citizen of Nigeria, residing in Stone
Mountain, Georgia; Romello Thorpe, 25, a United States citizen, residing in Washington, D.C.; Ouluwabamishe Awolesi, also known as Oluwabamise Johnson, 28, a citizen of Nigeria and the United States, residing in Beltsville, Maryland; Augustine Amechi, 24, a citizen of Nigeria, residing in Huntington, West Virginia; Barnabas Ganidekam, 24, a citizen of Ghana, residing in Westerville, Ohio; and Abdul Osumanu, 26, a citizen of Ghana, residing in Omaha, Nebraska.
The nine defendants are charged with various fraud-related crimes, including mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering, and receipt of stolen property.
All nine of the defendants have been apprehended in operations executed by the United States Secret Service and other federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies in seven states.
According to the indictments, from 2016 to 2020, the defendants allegedly participated in a series of romance and other online scams designed to coerce vulnerable victims into sending money to various bank accounts controlled by them.
The indictments describe romance scams as online schemes that target individuals looking for romantic partners, friendships, and other close personal and business relationships on dating websites and other social media platforms.
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