A Boston man was sentenced to nearly three years in prison and ordered to pay more than $680,000 in restitution for his role in romance scams and other online fraud schemes.
Macpherson Osemwegie, 32, pleaded guilty last year to one count of conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud.
Federal prosecutors say Osemwegie and others took part in a series of romance and other online scams designed to trick victims into sending money to accounts they controlled. In a romance scam, the perpetrator adopts a fake online identity to gain a person’s affection and trust and then uses the illusion of a relationship to manipulate or steal from the victim.
Osemwegie and his partners used fake foreign passports in other people’s names to open bank accounts and directed the victims to send money to those accounts, according to federal prosecutors. His role was to open the bank accounts and quickly withdraw money from them.
Prosecutors say Osemwegie opened at least 16 bank accounts at seven banks using four different fraudulent passports. From June 2017 through February 2020, Osemwegie and his accomplices stole almost $690,000 from nearly 100 victims, many of whom were elderly and, in some cases, were deprived of their life savings.
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