Love is blind, but a romance scammer isn’t. Osakpamwan Henry Omoruyi and Osaretin Godspower Omoruyi were definitely not blind. By day, Omoruyi and Godspower faked romantic love on line to lonely people seeking connections. By night they were filling out COVID-19 unemployment benefit applications. Neither scheme worked out for them though. One June 25, 2023, A federal jury has convicted Omoruyi and Godspower of playing a role in what prosecutors called “expansive online fraud schemes” to the tune of $1.7 million in fraud proceeds.
According to the charging documents, Omoruyi and Godspower participated in a series of romance scams designed to defraud victims by convincing them to send money to accounts and debit cards they controlled. Romance scams occur when a criminal adopts a fake online identity to gain a victim’s affection and trust. Omoruyi and Godspower used the illusion of a romantic or close relationship to manipulate and/or steal over $1 million USD from their victims. To carry out the schemes, the defendants allegedly used fake passports in the names of others to open numerous bank accounts and directed victims to send money to these accounts.
And then the pandemic came. Not sure if on line romance scams slowed down with the COVID-19 pandemic, but Omoruyi and Godspower still saw an opportunity. They used the accounts already established for their romance scams to submit for and collect fraudulent pandemic unemployment benefits in the names of beneficiaries who did not actually apply for such benefits. Fortunately, someone in the Financial and Cyber Fraud Unit questioned all the love. Now Omoruyi and Godspower wait for their sentencing.
Shout out to a wide range of organizations involved in this case including but not limited to the FBI, Department of Labor, Homeland Security Investigations in New England; and the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service. It takes a village.
Today’s Fraud Of The Day is based on article “Two convicted after netting $1.7 million in various scams in Massachusetts, across the country” published by Falls River Reporter on June 25, 2023
Two Nigerian men were found guilty by a federal jury in Boston for their roles in expansive online fraud schemes targeting individuals in the United States, including pandemic unemployment assistance fraud, romance scams and other online scams.
According to the Massachusetts Department of Justice, Osakpamwan Henry Omoruyi, 37, and Osaretin Godspower Omoruyi, 36, both previously of Canton, were each convicted following an eight-day jury trial of one count of bank fraud, one count of bank fraud conspiracy, and one count of money laundering conspiracy. U.S. District Court Judge Patti B. Saris ordered that the defendants be taken into federal custody pending sentencing, which is scheduled for Sept. 22, 2023. The defendants were charged by criminal complaint in March 2021.