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Romance Scammer Used Promise of Fake Gold to Bilk Victims for Millions

It was an old-fashioned romance scam, involving a man posing as a female online to induce unfortunate men to send him their life savings.

This scam, however, was fairly complex, involving a fake bank website and non-existent gold bars. The alleged perpetrator of this scam, Richard Opoku Agyemang, was arrested last month by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

According to the complaint against Agyemang, a USPIS agent interviewed a victim in January who sent $345,280 to Agyemang, who was posing online as “Emily.”

The victim told the USPIS agent that Emily spoke with an accent and purported to reside in Miami, where she was working as an ICU nurse at Jackson Memorial Hospital.

Eventually, Emily began asking the victim for money, which he sent to her. Emily told him the funds were going to pay for experimental and expensive medications meant for her mother in London.

“According to Victim 1, Emily also said she needed more money to pay ‘Mercury Assets Security Company’ in order to release two boxes of gold bars worth $9.2 million,” the complaint said.

“Victim 1 has never met Emily in person and has not received any gold bars.”

A second victim in New Mexico allegedly sent Agyemang $410,000 while the defendant was posing online as “Kathy.”

That victim told the same USPIS agent he developed a romantic relationship with “Kathy” that moved to text messages and eventually to speaking on Skype and via email. Instead of enticing him with gold, “Kathy” told the second victim “she” was supposed to be receiving an inheritance of diamond stones from her deceased father valued at $3.8 million.

The scam against the second victim also involved a fake bank website, according to the complaint.

“Based on screenshots of emails provided by Victim 2, it appears that the suspects created fraudulent websites for the First National Bank of London and for Neelevet, as well as fraudulent ‘customer support’ communications,” the complaint said.

The Virginia and New Mexico victims were the only ones highlighted in the criminal complaint, but the USPIS agent said there are at least “four dozen” other victims that have been bilked for more than $2 million combined.

“I have been able to interview some of the other suspected victims and confirmed that, at least as to those individuals, the funds were sent in connection with a romance fraud,” the agent said in his affidavit.

“For example, one victim provided copies of emails showing that he had been induced to send $13,000 to the RISUN LLC Wells Fargo account to pay for alleged taxes on gold bars being imported to the United States by his alleged online romantic partner.”

Agyemang was indicted on April 24 with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, six counts of money laundering, and several other charges.

He currently has a jury trial set for June 24, though, at this early stage of the case, it’s likely that the Justice Department has yet to offer him a plea deal.

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