A Nigerian man, Augustine Amechi has pleaded guilty to receipt of stolen money.
He was also indicted in April 2021 in connection with a large fraud scheme in the United States, US Justice Department said in a statement.
According to court documents and statements made during the plea hearing, the 24-year-old Amechi was involved with some others in a fraud scheme that occurred in Huntington, West Virginia and elsewhere from at least 2018 to March 11, 2021.
Sources said he lived in Huntington and attended Marshall University during his involvement in the scam scheme. He admitted that he swindled his victims through romance Scams.
They were convinced to send money for a variety of false and fraudulent reasons to bank accounts controlled by him in Cabell County.
The money received by Amechi was sent through bank wire transfers, Western Union, Moneygram, money orders and cashier’s checks.
It was learnt that Amechi admitted to receiving approximately $108,601.92 (N61,903,094 using parallel market rate) directly deposited into his bank accounts from victims, over $150,000 (N85,500,000 using parallel market rate) in cash mailed in packages to his Huntington residence and over $140,000 (N79,800,000 using parallel market rate) in deposits from Zelle.
He further confessed that he acquired stolen monies from at least 37 different fraud victims, and after he received the monies, he kept some for himself and sent some to others. Amechi transferred more than $15,000 (N8,550,0000 using parallel market rate) to bank accounts in Nigeria.
He faces up to 10 years in prison when he is sentenced. As part of his plea agreement, Amechi agreed to pay at least $192,762.19 (N109,874,448.3 using parallel market rate) in restitution.
“United States Attorney William S. 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,” the statement said.