The DoJ made the announcement the next day, saying that Okechukwu Nwofor, 32, of Brooklyn, New York, had been sentenced on August 7 in a federal court in California.
In order to trick victims, Nwofor and his leading gang took advantage of the anonymity offered by the internet by acting as possible lovers or business partners – a trick that is simple to use on the unaware.
In this example, Nwofor’s plan not only left victims in a terrible financial and emotional state, but also tragically resulted in a suicide and left a handicapped person without access to necessary treatment.
“[Nwofor] and his co-conspirators’ fraudulent activity resulted in numerous innocent people in difficult circumstances, including one the target’s incapacity to take care of her disabled son, another person’s home being foreclosed upon, and even one victim sadly ending her own life,” the prosecution said.
In a typical instance of the deception used in romance scams, one victim in Pasadena, California, sent around $19,000 to an account managed by Nwofor’s friends. The victim believed they were helping a loved one in need.
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Nwofor, the gang’s leader, was referred to by sentencing judge Stephen Wilson as the “personification of evil” and a “kingpin.”
Nwofor admitted to laundering money through romance and BEC scams between 2018 and 2019 on February 21 of this year, ostensibly as part of a plea agreement that lowered his sentence.
In this instance, the DoJ did not link Nwofor to any more charges. He is suspected of opening bank accounts in his name and under the name Juboy New Generation, an impostor business with offices in Albany, to handle stolen money. Through interstate transactions, money collected from victims and transferred to gang members was laundered through the usage of these accounts.
Nwofor often demanded a 20% share in return from his partners before dividing the money among the gang. The court ordered Nwofor to pay $392,296 in compensation since the plan robbed the victims of nearly $930,000.
Four additional participants pled guilty to conspiracy to engage in money laundering and admitting to being money mules in the operation. Three were given probationary terms, and one is awaiting judgment.
The FBI, which is well known for alerting the public to romantic and business email breach frauds, was successful in bringing Nwofor and his aides to court.