Nov. 21—A Marietta man has been sentenced to 13 years in prison for a "romance scam" in which he defrauded a woman out of more than $5 million.
Marietta's Nnamdi Marcellus MgBodile, 37, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Michael Brown after a federal jury convicted him in May of several charges, including bank fraud, money laundering and conspiracy to commit bank fraud.
"The groups perpetrating these romance scams and business email compromise frauds target their victims indiscriminately and have caused billions of dollars of losses for victims in recent years," Kurt R. Erskine, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, said in a news release announcing MgBodile's sentencing.
According to Erskine's office, MgBodile and at least five other people he had recruited opened bank accounts in Georgia, New York and California for "sham companies that did not have physical premises, earn legitimate income, or pay wages to employees."
In 2017, a Virginia woman met a "James Deere" on an online dating service. They entered a relationship and corresponded over email, and Deere told her he was excited to begin a life with her. But first, he had to "resolve an investment opportunity—an opportunity that was totally fraudulent and fictitious," according to Erskine's office.
In January and February 2018, Deere — a fake profile created by MgBodile's associates — convinced her to wire more than $5 million from her children's trust fund to "various bank accounts, of which $1.35 million was wired to accounts controlled by MgBodile," according to Erskine's office. That money was then wired to other accounts he controlled or accounts in China and the Middle East.
MgBodile and associates also tried to defraud companies in Georgia and Alabama.
In 2019, MgBodile and others posed in emails as a representative from Oxford Finance, the Georgia company's financial services provider. The name on those emails was the same as that of an actual Oxford employee, and the signature line included the company's actual address.
MgBodile was charged in November 2019 by a federal grand jury with 20 counts of bank fraud, money laundering and conspiracy to commit bank fraud. On May 13 of this year, a federal jury convicted him of these charges after an eight-day trial, according to Erskine's office.
In addition to the 13 years in prison, MgBodile was sentenced to five years of supervised release, according to Erskine's office.