A federal grand jury in Springfield, Missouri has charged a 39-year-old Nigerian, Badetito O. Obafemi, a resident of Dallas, Georgia on a 14-count indictment on July 29, 2021.
In a press release by the United States Attorney Office on Friday, the federal indictment alleged that Obafemi was involved in an internet fraud and money laundering from March 2016 to June 2018.
"The federal indictment alleges that Obafemi participated in a wire fraud conspiracy and a money-laundering conspiracy from June 1, 2016, to March 2018.
"The indictment also charges Obafemi with 11 counts of money laundering and one count of operating an illegal money transmitting business.
"Obafemi was the owner of Easy Tickets, LLC, and Goeasy Logistics, LLC, with offices for both companies listed at his residence," the statement read partly.
It revealed that the culprit had defrauded his victims, mostly the elderly through internet by using romance and relationship-based issues
"Romance scams target people, some of them elderly, in search of companionship or romance through online websites such as Facebook, Our Time, and Go Fish. The perpetrators of the romance scams created several profiles on online dating sites and social media sites.
"The conspirators then contacted individuals throughout the United States, including at least one individual in Taney County, with whom they cultivated a sense of affection and romance.
"Having established relationships with the victims, the indictment says, the perpetrators of the romance scams requested money for various untrue purposes, including equipment, business project expenses, other business expenses, hospital and other medical expenses, construction costs, travel expenses, taxes, and loans.
"The conspirators directed the victims to wire transfer or deposit money into various accounts, including accounts established and maintained by Obafemi. When he received the money, Obafemi allegedly withdrew some of the proceeds in cash, utilized some of the proceeds for his own benefit, and transferred some of the proceeds to other accounts in the United States and overseas.
"According to the indictment, the Taney County victim was contacted via Facebook by an individual claiming to be 'Kevin Condon' in May 2016. Following several conversations by email, phone, and Facebook, 'Condon' convinced the victim to send him money for expenses related to his overseas business project and various medical issues.
"Conspirators stole a total of $27,460 (about N15 million using parallel market rate of N560 to $1) from the Taney County victim. 'Condon' also attempted to convince the victim to deposit $40,000 (N22.4 million) into an account controlled by Obafemi, purportedly to pay a court in South Africa for his release from jail.
"The indictment also specifically refers to a victim in Minnesota who sent Obafemi and his co-conspirators $230,000 (N128,800,000) after meeting on an online dating site, and a victim in New Jersey who sent conspirators $54,000 (N30, 240,000) after meeting on an online dating site.
"The indictment also contains a forfeiture allegation, which would require Obafemi to forfeit to the government any property derived from the proceeds of the alleged offences, including a money judgment of $311,460 (about N174 million), " the statement said.
The charges contained in these indictments are simply accusations and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.
These cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Casey Clark. They were investigated by the Department of Defense, Office of Inspector General, Defense Criminal Investigative Service, the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, the Citrus County, Fla., Sheriff’s Office, the Belle Meade, Tenn., Police Department, Homeland Security Investigations, the FBI and the Northfield, Minn., Police Department.