A Los Angeles man and his Nigeria-based younger brother face federal charges for allegedly working to con women out of cash in online dating scams and laundering the money through U.S. banks, federal prosecutors said Monday.
Kinston Osagie, 53, and his sibling, Roland Ighiwiyisi, 40, are charged with multiple counts of money laundering, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Francisco.
Osagie allegedly opened at least 18 different U.S. bank accounts between January 2015 and August which took in about $6 million in cash, check and wire deposits. Of that amount, the indictment alleges $3 million is traceable primarily to victims of romance fraud.
The indictment describes romance scams as online schemes that target susceptible individuals looking for romantic partners on dating and social websites such as Tinder and Match.com.
Scam artists create profiles using intriguing names, photos, personas and locations to draw their online victims into romantic relationships. Victims become convinced they are engaged in true romance — though the fake romantic partners offer myriad excuses why they cannot meet face-to-face — and eventually the victims are persuaded to send money or gifts to their fake partners, which is appropriated by the scam artists.
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