COLUMBUS, Ohio – A federal jury has convicted a Canal Winchester man of 35 counts of money laundering crimes related to an online romance fraud scheme.
The verdict was announced yesterday following a trial that began on May 16 before Chief U.S. District Judge Algenon L. Marbley.
According to court documents and trial testimony, Seth Nyamekye, 39, laundered the proceeds of online romance scams that generated millions of dollars of loss.
The perpetrators of the romance scams created several profiles on online dating sites and then contacted men and women throughout the United States and elsewhere. The scammers cultivated a sense of affection and, often, romance, with the victims they met online before requesting money for investment or need-based reasons. The romance scam perpetrators then provided victims with bank account information where the money should be sent. Nyamekye controlled one of these accounts and received more than $1.3 million in romance fraud proceeds from victims.
The government proved beyond a reasonable doubt at trial that Nyamekye laundered the victims’ money on behalf of the conspiracy. The defendant conspired with others from at least June 2016 until February 2018 to commit money laundering in multiple transactions of more than $10,000 with the purpose of concealing the fraudulent nature of the proceeds.
At least eight victims sent their money directly to Nyamekye’s bank account, which was in the name of Gloseth Ventures LLC. For example, one victim was defrauded by a purported member of the military and sent a $170,000 wire transfer to Nyamekye’s bank account. Another victim fell in love with a man he met online who also claimed to be in the military overseas and sent two wire transfers to Nyamekye totaling $73,000. A separate victim believed she was engaged to the man who was scamming her and sent $50,000 to the defendant’s bank account.
After the funds were deposited into Nyamekye’s bank account, Nyamekye took a cut of the victims’ money and then conducted financial transactions to move the funds where the perpetrators of the romance fraud could enjoy the criminal proceeds.
Nyamekye was charged by a criminal complaint in October 2020 and was later indicted in May 2021. He faces up to 20 years in prison on each of 18 counts, and up to 10 years in prison on each of 17 other counts.
“If you believe you are the victim of an online romance scam, I urge you to file a complaint at ic3.gov,” said U.S. Attorney Kenneth L. Parker.
Kenneth L. Parker, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, and Bryant Jackson, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, Cincinnati Field Office, announced the verdict. Assistant United States Attorneys Peter K. Glenn-Applegate and David J. Twombly are representing the United States in this case.
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