A Ghanaian national living in Randolph was arrested last week on charges of making false statements at several Greater Boston banks as part of a $1.7 million romance scam.
Kofi Osei, 28, who most recently lived in Randolph, was indicted on seven counts of making a false statement to a bank, six counts of wire fraud and two counts of money laundering, according to a statement from the U.S. attorney’s office. Osei was arrested Thursday and detained following an appearance in Boston federal court.
According to the indictment, from approximately 2016 to at least 2020, Osei opened bank accounts in the Greater Boston area using fake identity documents in the names of Paul Proia, Kenneth Buck or Jeffrey Anashe. Those bank accounts were used to receive funds from victims of romance scams, where perpetrators created fictitious personas to develop online romantic relationships with individuals in the U.S., and then leveraged those relationships to obtain money and property, according to the U.S. attorney’s statement.
The accounts had been opened at Santander Bank branches in Brighton and Abington, Bank of America branches in Weymouth and Abington, Citizens Bank in Raynham and Eastern Bank in Randolph, according to the indictment.
Once the funds reached the accounts, prosecutors allege Osei generally withdrew the money in cash, used the funds to purchase cashier’s checks or spent the money on personal purchases. The fraudulent accounts received a total of $1.7 million, according to the statement.
The charge of making a false statement to a bank provides for a sentence of up to 30 years in prison, five years of supervised release and a fine of $1 million. The charge of wire fraud provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000, or twice the gross gain or loss from the scheme, whichever is greater. The charge of money laundering provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $500,000, or twice the value of the criminally derived property.