Kenyan citizen among those sentence in US for 7 years in jail in a love scandal case
NAIROBI, Kenya – Florence Mwende Musau -a Kenyan citizen living in the US is among the five others who were charged in connection with their roles in online scams that are alleged to have collectively defrauded victims of more than $4 million.
Musau who resides in Boston was on Tuesday fined $957,000 for her role in a fraud conspiracy involving romance scams targeting individuals in the United States. The 38-year-old pleaded guilty in a federal court in Boston in 2021.
According to the US authorities, the group used fake passports and numerous aliases to open bank accounts in and around Boston to collect and launder the proceeds of the romance scams.
The court documents reveal that Musau has participated in a series of online scams designed to defraud victims into sending money to bank accounts controlled by her and others.
Musau was the mastermind of the whole scam game where she used fake passports in the names of numerous aliases to open bank accounts in and around Boston to collect and launder the proceeds of the romance scams.
She then executed large cash withdrawals from those accounts, often multiple times on a single day and generally structured in amounts less than $10,000, in an effort to evade detection and currency transaction reporting requirements.
Mark Arome Okuo, a Nigerian national was also among the African charged in the love affair scam.
“She then executed large cash withdrawals from those accounts, often multiple times on a single day and generally structured in amounts less than $10,000, in an effort to evade detection and currency transaction reporting requirements.”
The accounts were also used to collect fraudulent pandemic unemployment benefits in the names of Massachusetts beneficiaries who did not apply for such funds, federal prosecutors said.
More than $4 million in fraud proceeds was deposited into accounts allegedly controlled by the defendants.
Early last year, Okuo pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud. His sentence hearing was scheduled for March 29, 2023.
The US Department of Justice (DoJ) in a statement released on Wednesday said that Massachusetts Judge Allison Burroughs directed the Kenyan woman to pay $957,000 in restitution and sentenced her to 44 months in prison.
The court further slapped her with an additional 36 months of supervised release and ordered her to surrender money in her account as well as her car.
Okuo would allegedly meet women on dating sites and pretend to be a US Army soldier serving in the Middle East or Africa.
As the relationships developed, Okuo claimed that he needed the women to wire him money so that he could leave the military and return to the US to marry them, according to court documents.
In one case, a victim was said to have transferred $137,000 to bank accounts controlled by Okuo and Musau, thinking it would help her groom-to-be obtain his military retirement benefits early.
Musau, a graduate of the Technical University of Kenya (TUK), traveled to the US in 2018 on a tourist visa. She then acquired a work permit visa.