DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. — A widow from Douglas County fell victim to a romance fraud scheme which cost her more than $1.5 million.
Federal authorities said the scheme began in January 2018 and lasted until October of that year. A Minnesota man has now been indicted on 21 charges related to the scam.
Adetomiwa Seun Akindele, 38, was charged with:
- 10 counts of wire fraud and aiding and abetting wire fraud
- 11 counts of money laundering
According to the indictment, Akindele and the victim, who is only identified by the initials N. M., met on an online dating website in January 2018. Akindele posed as "Francesco 'Frank' Labato," the indictment says.
In March 2018, Akindele told the victim that he encountered a financial crisis related to his purported overseas work and asked the victim to loan him money, the indictment alleges. He even wrote fraudulent promissory notes to the victim to reassure her that she would be repaid, according to the indictment.
That same month, Akindele directed the victim to open an account with a cryptocurrency exchange, the indictment says. The victim deposited money into the account and gave Akindele access to the funds, the indictment alleges.
Akindele would take crypto out of the victim's account and then use that currency to buy more crypto through three separate cryptocurrency companies that he had accounts with, the indictment says. Akindele then laundered the money by converting it into cash that he deposited into his bank accounts, the indictment says.
In all, the victim was taken for $1.6 million. If convicted on counts 1-19, Akindele could face up to 20 years in prison for each count, and up to 10 years on counts 20 and 21.
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