US authorities have sentenced Jeffersonking Anyanwu of Orem, Utah to 63 months in jail after he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to launder money obtained from a romance scheme that defrauded over 350 victims, most of whom were elderly. Anyanwu must also serve three years of supervised release and pay $8.4 million in restitution to the victims.
Eight defendants, including Anyanwu, charged in an investigation into the romance scams and related money laundering. Anyanwu worked with co-conspirators in the US and Nigeria to create fake social media profiles to use in romance scams. Through over 20 such fake profiles, the criminals targeted widows, divorcees, or women in troubled marriages via social media, dating sites, word puzzle games, etc. The criminals then coerced the victims to send them money for various reasons.
To avoid suspicion, co-conspirators located overseas provided the details of bank accounts based in the US for the victims to transfer the money.
Source: US Department of Justice