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Indictment alleges Cincinnati man scammed dozens of victims out of more than $2M as part of online romance fraud conspiracy

By
Southern District of Ohio, Press Release

A federal grand jury has indicted Richard Opoku Agyemang, 40, of Cincinnati, in connection with a romance-fraud conspiracy allegedly involving more than $2 million in loss to dozens of victims.

The indictment alleges that Agyemang conspired with others to use stolen photographs and false information to create profiles on dating websites. The coconspirators allegedly used these false profiles to reach out to victims and establish an online romantic relationship.

The indictment alleges that, eventually, the coconspirators, pretending to be the person pictured in the false profile, would ask the victims to send money, falsely representing that the money was needed for things like medical expenses or to help bring a large inheritance of gold to the United States.

The victims either wired money or deposited checks to accounts allegedly controlled by Agyemang or other members of the conspiracy. Members of the conspiracy would allegedly launder the proceeds of the scheme by making wire and electronic transfers, including to domestic accounts and to accounts in China.

According to an affidavit filed in support of a criminal complaint, more than $2 million, transferred from dozens of victims, allegedly passed through Agyemang’s accounts.

The 11-count indictment charges Agyemang with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, six counts of money laundering and three counts of engaging in monetary transactions with proceeds of criminal activity. Wire fraud and money laundering are punishable by up to 20 years in prison; engaging in monetary transactions with proceeds of criminal activity is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

The indictment also alleges that Agyemang made false statements to the Small Business Administration (SBA) in a Payment Protection Program (PPP) loan application in April 2021, which resulted in the SBA awarding him more than $20,000 in COVID relief to which he was not entitled. That crime is punishable by up to five years in prison.

Kenneth L. Parker, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, and Lesley Allison, Inspector in Charge, U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), Pittsburgh Division, announced the indictment. Assistant United States Attorney Julie D. Garcia is representing the United States in this case.

An indictment merely contains allegations, and defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.

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