A federal jury in Oklahoma City has convicted a Houston woman for her role in an online dating scam that conned victims out of millions of dollars.
Akunna Baiyina Ejiofor, 32, has been found guilty of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, aggravated identity theft and 18 counts of wire fraud, The Oklahoman reported.
Prosecutors alleged Ejiofor and other co-conspirators participated in a “romance scheme” to defraud older, vulnerable women on dating websites, including ChristianMingle.com and Match.com. They said Ejiofor allegedly setup a fraudulent profile for the persona “Edward Peter Duffey,” a fictitious financial adviser from England and would pose as his daughter “Heather.”
Prosecutors believe the scam occurred between May 2014 and January 2016.
During testimony, Ejiofor said she was unaware the scam was happening.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy told jurors that Ejiofor admitted to the FBI last year that she setup the fake dating profiles for the scam.
“Ejiofor only participated to the extent that she could earn money for rent,” she told the FBI, documents show.
In January 2016, the FBI executed search warrants where Ejiofor and her co-defendant Ken Ejimofor Ezeah, 34, lived in Houston. An FBI agent said cellphones and notebooks related to the conspiracy were discovered.
Ezeah pleaded guilty in February to conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
He admitted to deceiving victims through “claims of romance,” and targeting women in their 50s and 60s.
“That age group would reflect people either divorced, widowed or more available emotionally,” he testified.
Source: US News & World Report
31 March 2017