A 38-year-old man in Texas has been sentenced to three years in prison and ordered to repay money for his role in a romance scam that conned a Missouri woman out of nearly $1.2 million.
Rotimi Oladimeji pleaded guilty in December of 2022 to two counts of mail fraud, two counts of wire fraud as well as conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud. As a native of Nigeria, he could be deported after serving his time, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Missouri said.
Oldadimeji and his co-conspirators, who all lived in Texas, found the victim on the dating site Silver Singles and made her believe she was in an online romance with a veterinarian and animal behaviorist living in St. Louis.
The scammers would make plans to meet her then never follow through, even going as far as leaving her waiting at the Missouri Botanical Garden on one occasion, federal prosecutors said.
In October 2019, the scammers said that the veterinarian was going to Dubai and wouldn’t be allowed to leave unless she sent money. Prosecutors said they repeatedly requested money from the victim, four- and five-figure sums in the form of cash and cashier’s checks sent via FedEx.
At the direction of Oladimeji, the victim sent the money to the homes of Oladimeji’s co-conspirators, Olumide Akrinmade and Adewale Adesanya, in Texas.
Oladimeji received 20% of the funds he generated from the victim, prosecutors said, and the remaining amount went to scammers in Nigeria.
Akrinmade pleaded guilty in April to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud. He was sentenced to 15 months in prison and ordered to repay $46,500. Adesanya pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Dallas and was sentenced to four years in prison. He was also ordered to repay $1.5 million from the romance scam and other schemes he participated in.
The Federal Trade Commission said more than 70,000 people reportedly lost $1.3 billion to romance scams in 2022. They compiled a list of the most common narratives used by scammers.
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