A 24-year-old defender for USL League One club Union Omaha was indicted on federal fraud charges on Wednesday. Abdul Osumanu, 24, is accused of being involved in various internet romance scams, one of nine men charged of defrauding at least 200 victims of at least $2.5 million.
Osumanu, a regular for Union Omaha, was removed from team activities, KETV reported. The Ghana native was forced to surrender his passport and cannot use the internet for romantic or financial purposes ahead of a trial date in West Virginia on Tuesday.
Osumanu is accused of working with a man named Banabas Ganidekam to scam up to $200,000 since 2017. Osumanu allegedly sent $43,000 to Ghana despite making $1,200 per month playing for Union Omaha. He’s been indicted on charges of mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering conspiracy and receipt of stolen money.
Club statement: pic.twitter.com/hxQDsiTuo5
According to federal prosecutors, Osumanu and Ganidekam created a fake profile for a woman named Amida Ibrahim and claimed she needed help paying $750,000 in taxes on $7.5 million in gold bars inherited from her father. The defendants are also accused of creating someone named Jack London who needed $46,000 for an investment opportunity. The cons allegedly scammed more than $19,000 from a woman in Indiana and $67,000 from another widow met on a dating website.
“According to the indictments, from 2016 to 2020, the defendants allegedly participated in a series of romance and other online scams designed to coerce vulnerable victims into sending money to various bank accounts controlled by them,” a news release stated. “The indictments describe romance scams as online schemes that target individuals looking for romantic partners, friendship and other close personal and business relationships on dating websites and other social media platforms. The defendants created profiles using fictitious names, locations and images, which allowed them to cultivate relationships with the victims. To carry out the schemes alleged in the indictments, victims were often led to believe that the defendants were U.S. residents working abroad.”
Union Omaha coach Jay Mims is standing in as a third-party custodian for Osumanu ahead of his trial date, meaning he is responsible for the player showing up in court.
Osumanu is, of course, innocent until proven guilty. Regardless of his involvement in any fraud, scams like this have been growing in popularity around the world in recent years, usually targeting older people who are more susceptible to internet cons.
To make you feel a little better about the disheartening amount of deceit in the world, here’s a video of YouTube star Mark Rober helping phone scammers get arrested (and covered in glitter).