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Nigerian man, Fafunmi bags 51 months jail term by US court for fraud

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A United States court, sentenced a Nigerian, Ismaila Fafunmi, who resides in Indianapolis to 51 months in federal prison on friday, August 20, 2021.

Fafunmi was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Karen Caldwell for money laundering of the proceeds of romance fraud and grant fraud schemes targeting senior citizens.

Fafunmi, under the federal law, must serve 85 percent of his prison sentence and upon his release from prison, he will be under the supervision of the U.S. Probation Office for three years.

According to court documents, Mr. Fafunmi was involved in a network that was composed of several layers. The initial layer consisted of scammers using computers in Nigeria who preyed on elderly citizens of the United States; by impersonating romantic companions eager to make lasting relationships on dating websites or by offering fake federal grants to senior citizens.

He had admitted in his Plea Agreement that, beginning in June 2018, he and his co-conspirators in Nigeria would set up fake profiles on dating websites profiling American men, often military members, to defraud United States-based victims of their money or by offering fake federal grants to senior citizens.

Also, victims sent money in the form of cash and postal money orders to addresses belonging to Fafunmi and his co-conspirators. Fafunmi and his co-conspirators would retain a portion of the victims’ funds; then convert the remainder to wire transfers, to be sent back to co-conspirators in Nigeria.

Meanwhile, two victims of the scheme lived in Kentucky.  One sent more than $200,000 in funds, gift cards, and electronic devices to a person she believed to be her boyfriend.  Another sent over $170,000, for what she believed to be fees associated with a federal grant.  Fafunmi received portions of these funds, kept some of the money, and sent the remainder abroad.

During his trial, Fafunmi pleaded guilty in August 2020.

The case was investigated by the FBI and prosecuted as part of the Department of Justice’s Elder Justice Mission to identify and prosecute those persons who facilitate elder financial exploitation.

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