LEXINGTON, Ky. (WYMT) – An Indianapolis has been indicted on charges of taking money from Kentucky woman in a “romance scam.”
Federal prosecutors say 33-year-old Ismaila Fafunmi befriended women under an alias on social media beginning in June of 2018.
He would talk to the woman, typically older than 50, through a dating website and convince the victims that they were in a relationship and asked them to send money. One unnamed victim from Eastern Kentucky lost around $200,000 in the scam.
Fafunmi is charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering. He was indicted in October of 2019.
Fafunmi is scheduled to be sentenced on November 19, 2020. He faces up to 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $500,000.
“Internet-based romance scams and grant fraud scams, like the ones perpetrated here, prey on vulnerable individuals and frequently consist of nothing more than promises that are too good to be true and despicable efforts to cheat people out of their money,” said Robert M. Duncan, Jr., United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky. “Unfortunately, these scams remain prevalent; so all of us need to remain vigilant when communicating online, especially if we are asked to send money to someone we do not really know. The outstanding work of FBI personnel led to the capture and conviction of the defendant, and allows us to hold these fraudsters accountable for their crimes.”
“Nothing is as painful as a broken heart which makes romance scams particularly egregious,” said James Robert Brown, Jr., Special Agent in Charge, FBI, Louisville Field Office. “Fraudsters who target our most vulnerable citizens online will continue to draw the full attention of the FBI.”
Robert M. Duncan, Jr., United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky, and James Robert Brown, Jr., Special Agent in Charge, FBI, Louisville Field Office, jointly announced the guilty plea.
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