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Facebook romance scam ends in federal prison for two men

By Brooke A. Lewis - Houston Chronicle - 16-12-16
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Two Nigerian citizens were sentenced Thursday to 36 months in federal prison and could face possible deportation for their participation in a $2 million romance scam that started on Facebook.

Kunle Mutiu Amoo, 49, and Lanre Sunday Adeoba, 62, were ordered to pay a little over $86,000 in restitution, after pleading guilty to one count of conspiring to commit wire fraud, according to U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson.

Amoo and Adeoba admitted their involvement in a scam that defrauded victims of money by making false promises or stating romantic overtures that the victims would be repaid.

The defendants pretended to be South African diplomats who needed the victim's financial assistance to transport money into the United States. The two admitted in their guilty plea that they tried to defraud the victim of $506,000. The victim lost $2 million because of the scam.

Amoo and Adeoba will be in federal custody until they can be moved to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility at a later date.

U.S. District Judge Alfred H. Bennett, who sentenced Amoo and Adeoba, said the two had abused a position of trust by pretending to be diplomats. He also noted the victim suffered severe financial hardship from their actions.

The woman was drawn into the scam after being drawn into an Internet relationship with a man she never met. The two Nigerian men posed as diplomats who were supposedly working with the man on a South African project, according to court documents.

Compared to other Internet-enabled crimes, romance scams result in the largest amount of financial loss among victims, according to the FBI. Victims of these scams, which are classified as confidence frauds, reported nearly $200 million worth of financial losses in 2015, according to the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center.

Victims of this type of crime should report it to the Federal Bureau of Investigation Internet Crime Complaint Center.

Tags: Nigerian,Facebook,romance scam,Kunle Mutiu Amoo,Lanre Sunday Adeoba,South African diplomats

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