HUNTINGTON, WV (LOOTPRESS) – Abdul Inusah, 32, of Ghana, was sentenced today to two years in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, for his role in a Huntington-based scheme that defrauded individuals in multiple states through the use of false online personas. Inusah was also ordered to pay $152,000 in restitution.
After three days of trial, a federal jury found that Inusah was part of a conspiracy that targeted victims using false personas via email, text messaging, online dating websites and social media platforms. From at least January 2018 through at least December 2019, the scheme participants sought to induce victims into believing they were in a romantic relationship, friendship, or business relationship with the 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 $106,000 via wire transfers and cashier’s checks. The amount included $48,000 to pay overdue taxes on a nonexistent gold inheritance in Ghana and $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 federal jury found Inusah guilty of receipt of stolen money, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and two counts of wire fraud on August 12, 2022.
“Perhaps more than others involved, Abdul Inusah understood the scope of the criminal conspiracy and that it was exploiting innocent and often vulnerable victims,” said United States Attorney Will Thompson. “The defendant even recruited others to help commit this fraud, while taking steps to conceal his own involvement.”
U.S. Attorney Thompson made the announcement and commended 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 Attorney Kathleen Robeson and former Assistant United States Attorney R. Gregory McVey and the trial team for prosecuting the case and securing the guilty verdicts,” Thompson said.
United States District Judge Robert C. Chambers imposed the sentence.
The public is encouraged to report potential online fraud activity or scams at https://www.ic3.gov.
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