Tuesday saw the sentencing of a Texas man to three years in federal prison for his involvement in a romance scam that defrauded a Missouri woman of over $1.1 million. Repayment of the money has also been mandated for him.
The U.S. Attorney’s office in St. Louis sent a news release stating that Rotimi Oladimeji, 38, of Richardson, Texas, entered a guilty plea to two counts of mail fraud, two counts of wire fraud, and one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud last year.
The man went to the United Arab Emirates for a business arrangement, but the con artists said he was stuck there and needed money. According to federal prosecutors, the victim lost close to $1.2 million. A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office, Robert Patrick, stated that although Oladimeji had received only 20% of the money, he is still liable for paying the full amount to the victim unless his two co-defendants reimburse some of it.
The Federal Trade Commission claims that romance frauds like this one are not unusual and have even increased recently.
Entered Guilty Plea
There have been a number of high-profile fraud-related catfishing scams in the United States in 2023 alone. One such case was a Florida lady who entered a guilty plea in the spring for defrauding an 87-year-old Holocaust survivor.
In a another instance, a Ghanaian social media influencer was charged for her involvement in a romance fraud that preyed on elderly Americans, and she was swiftly extradited back to the United States from the United Kingdom.
A woman in California lost more than $2.3 million over the course of five months to a con artist who used a phony dating app as a front, while a man in New York was accused in relation to unrelated romantic scams that defrauded people out of more than $1.8 million, according to CBS Los Angeles.