A 31-year-old Ghanaian, Abdul Inusah, will, on November 21, 2022, be sentenced by a United States court over charges of fraud and money laundering.
He risks facing a maximum jail term of 50 years after the expected sentencing on November 21, 2022.
The 31-year-old has been found guilty of defrauding people by false pretences and scamming them online via mail, texts, dating and other social media sites.
Abdul Inusah is said to have engaged in the act, at least, from January 2018 through to December 2019.
In a statement, the US Department of Justice, said “the evidence at trial revealed that Inusah was part of a conspiracy that targeted victims using false personas via email, text messaging, and online dating and social media websites.”
For instance, one false persona, Miarama, was used to induce an Alabama resident into providing US$106,000 via wire transfers and cashier’s checks.
“The jury found Inusah guilty of receipt of stolen money, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and two counts of wire fraud. The wire fraud counts involve a pair of $2,000 Zelle wire transfers to Inusah from the money obtained using the ‘Miarama’ false persona in January 2019,” the statement said.
The jury trial was presided over by Robert C Chambers, a United States District Judge.
Here is the full statement from the US Department of Justice:
After three days of trial, a federal jury convicted Abdul Inusah, 31, of Ghana, for his role in a Huntington-based scheme that defrauded individuals in multiple states through the use of false online personas.
Evidence at trial revealed that Inusah was part of a conspiracy that targeted victims using false personas via email, text messaging, and online dating and social media websites.
From at least January 2018 through at least December 2019, the scheme sought to induce victims into believing they were in a romantic relationship, friendship, or business relationship with various false personas. The victims were persuaded to send money for a variety of false and fraudulent reasons for the benefit of the false personas.
One false persona, “Miarama”, was used to induce an Alabama resident into providing US$106,000 via wire transfers and cashier’s checks.
The amount included US$48,000 to pay overdue taxes on a non-existent gold inheritance in Ghana and US$21,000 wired to Bitsav Supply LLC, a shell company set up by Inusah. Another false persona, “Grace”, persuaded a Washington resident to wire funds so “Grace” could maintain her South African cocoa plantation and move to the United States to marry the victim. Other victims of the false personas included residents of Ohio and Florida.
The jury found Inusah guilty of receipt of stolen money, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and two counts of wire fraud. The wire fraud counts involve a pair of US$2,000 Zelle wire transfers to Inusah from the money obtained using the “Miarama” false persona in January 2019.
“It is truly heartbreaking how this conspiracy exploited individuals who were particularly vulnerable, such as following the death of a long-time spouse,” said United States Attorney Will Thompson. “Some of the victims did not recognize themselves as victims, and continued to believe these false personas were real and that they were in actual relationships.
“I commend the investigative work of the United States Secret Service, the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation-Office of Inspector General (FDIC-OIG), the West Virginia State Police and the South Charleston Police Department. I also commend Assistant United States Attorneys Kathleen Robeson and R Gregory McVey and our trial team for trying this complex fraud case before the jury.”
United States District Judge Robert C Chambers presided over the jury trial.
Inusah is scheduled to be sentenced on 21 November 2022, and faces a maximum penalty of 50 years in prison.