Feds Uncover Eleven Defrauding Elderly Victims

Worried senior man using laptop at home
Image by triloks

A fraud scheme that targeted elderly people for money has been uncovered. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas announced on Friday, Sept. 24, that eleven people had been indicted in connection with a scheme that targeted older adults for money. 

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the suspects, in “romance schemes,” used fake names to lure elderly victims through dating websites and mobile apps like match.com, Christian Mingle, JSwipe, and Plenty of Fish. 

The office said the suspects start by feigning romantic interest in the victims. Then, they target their bank accounts by pitching “sob stories” for why they needed money — some stories revolved around essential overseas travel, tax obligations, and crippling debt. 

The eleven alleged fraudsters took tens of thousands of dollars from victims between 2015 and 2020, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. According to the office, most of the eleven are tied to a transnational organized crime syndicate originating in Nigeria. 

The accused have been identified as Afeez Abiola Alao, 37, Uwaduale Esezobor, 36, David Animashaun, 38, Oluwalobamise Michael Moses, 40, Ambrose Sunday Ohide, 47, Chukwemeka Orji, 36, Irabor Fatarr Musa, 51, Victor Idowu, 36, Emmanuel Stanley Orji, 35, Ijeoma Okoro, 31, and Frederick Orji, 37. All eleven were arrested in a large-scale operation on Wednesday morning. 

The office said the eleven are charged with counts including conspiracy to launder monetary instruments and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. If convicted, they face up to ten years in federal prison on the money-laundering conspiracy charges and up to twenty years on the money-laundering conspiracy charges. 

According to the office, most of the accused were arrested in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Special agent in charge of the FBI’s Dallas field office said the operation would have an impact in the region as the crimes affect people around residents. “The crimes allegedly committed by these defendants hit close to home,” he said. “Your neighbors, parents, friends, and family would be targets of this organization. The fraudsters intimidated and berated their victims, ruined their lives, really, and then disappeared.” 

Officials said that nearly two dozen more people were charged in a related indictment in the Eastern District of Texas. The FBI urges people to file reports about such scams on their Internet Crime Control Center

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