A man from Houston, Texas, has been sentenced to more than seven years in prison for romantic and business fraud, of which he raised more than $ 2,2 million in illicit proceeds.
Ο Akhabue Ehis Onoimoimilin, otherwise known as David Harrison, appeared before the judge Robert Pitman this week and was sentenced to 87 months in prison. In addition, he was forced to return more than $ 865.000 in compensation.
According to the US Department of Justice (DoJ), the 29-year-old has been involved in romantic fraud and Business Email Compromise (BEC), approximately since 2015.
Romantic scams often start with creating fake social media profiles and dating apps. The terrorists they will target individuals and try to gain the trust of their victims, who believe they are a potential partner.
Soon, the perpetrators are asking for money for fake reasons, such as some medical emergency or, more often in recent years, participation in a lucrative financial opportunity.
However, when one of the victims has no money to give, the scammer simply disappears.
British police have also warned of another form of fraud that has become more common due to home orders: requests for photos, videos or camera sessions are made and then victims are threatened that this content will be leaked to family members or employers unless they pay the scammer.
BEC systems follow a different approach. Organizations, large and small, fall victim to phishing and employees are tricked into believing that they are communicating via email with other staff, including executives and customers.
The emails require bank transfers and invoice payments, but the bank details included ensure that the payment is sent to accounts controlled by intruders.
In both romance and BEC scams, money laundering may be needed, and Onoimoimilin has been found guilty of this role. He used a fake passport to open bank accounts under the name David Harrison in both Austin and Houston, Texas.
These accounts were used to launder money.
"After imprisonment, the accused must also be subject to two years of surveillance."These morally reprehensible systems deprive people of their money, even of the entire compensation and retirement fund, leaving behind humiliation and financial ruin.", Commented the American lawyer Ashley Hoff. "Our office will continue to vigorously prosecute those who conspire to loot vulnerable victims in this way."