Two Ghanaians resident in the U.S have been slapped with a total of eight years jail term and been ordered by a court to return whopping sums of money they stole in a romance scam.
Kahad Al Wuupini, 35 and Thomas Inkoom, 42, pleaded guilty to the money laundering conspiracy in March 2020 and were sentenced Friday, 30 October 2020. Wuupini was ordered to pay $757,000 and Inkoom was ordered to pay $100,000 in restitution.
Wuupini was sentenced to 79 months in prison and Inkoom was sentenced to 19 months. They were sentenced with one other for their role in scamming a woman online out of $757,000 and laundering the money in an international scheme.
The scheme, using fraud and deceit, preyed upon the victim’s hopes and took advantage of her kindness, ultimately stealing over $750,000 of her money,” said U.S. Attorney Robert M. Duncan, Jr. in a news release as reported by the Lexington Herald Leader.
Evidence revealed that the conspirators agreed to aid in and launder $757,000 in funds, which were defrauded from a victim of an online romance fraud scheme.
After receiving cashier’s checks, personal checks, and cash from the victim, Majeed and his co-conspirators laundered the money from Washington and New Jersey, back to Ghana, by purchasing cars that were shipped to Ghana, obtaining cashier’s checks, and wiring funds to each other or other individuals in the United States and Ghana.
The indictment alleged that the woman was targeted through a social networking site. It said the men impersonated a man named James Nehmer to commit an “online romance scheme” against the woman, who believed she was in a relationship with Nehmer.
The woman was convinced to send money for an investment in gold and silver that didn’t really exist. The scammers had the victim put “Mercedes G” or “Condo” in the memo line of the check, but she didn’t buy a car or condo, the indictment said.
She sent a total of $757,000 between April 22, 2017, and Sept. 5, 2017 to the men charged in the case or to businesses they controlled, the indictment said. It listed checks as large as $95,000. The victim sent two checks for that amount the same day in May 2017 from two different bank accounts.
“Unfortunately, internet-based romance scams are becoming more and more prevalent.” said federal prosecutor Duncan.
“It is important for people to be cautious about sending money to someone they have only met online. If something seems too good to be true, it often is.”
Duncan commended “the hard work of FBI personnel and members of my office, to hold the defendants accountable for their crimes, and to bring a measure of justice to the victim.”
“Romance scammers use promises of love and romance to entice victims online often persuading them to send money, personal and financial information, and items of value to the perpetrator,” said James Robert Brown, Jr., special agent in charge of the FBI office in Louisville.