A Nigerian resident in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, been sentenced to 78 months in prison for his role in an international cyber fraud scheme. District judge, Sheryl Lipman, of the Western District of Tennessee, on Tuesday sentenced Olufolajimi Abegunde, 32, and ordered him to pay $57,911.62 in restitution to the victims of his offence.
Mr Abegunde and Javier Luis Ramos-Alonso, 29, were convicted in March after a seven-day trial. Mr Ramos-Alonso previously received a 31-month sentence for his role in the scheme.
The court heard that the duo was part of a criminal organisation in which members “spoofed” emails and created fake profiles on dating websites in order to fool victims into sending money to bogus bank accounts under the control of members of the conspiracy.
The proceeds would be laundered and subsequently wired out of the US to destinations including West Africa. It is believed that the organisation is responsible for the loss of over $10 million by US citizens and businesses.
Abegunde received an MBA from Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas.
In addition to his financial activities, the Nigerian also engaged in a conspiracy to commit marriage fraud. He was married during his studies at Texas A&M but divorced his wife in 2016 to marry a US service member through whom he could obtain immigration and health care benefits and also open new bank accounts.
Abegunde continued to live with his first wife in Atlanta while his US service member wife was deployed to South Korea.
Five other individuals have pleaded guilty to being involved in the scheme. Some foreign nationals are awaiting extradition to the US to face trial while others are still at large.
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