Oyindamola Akinrinola, 23, a Nigerian resident of Lawrence, Kansas, pleaded guilty in federal court to his role in online fraud schemes targeting victims in the United States.
US Attorney Stephen McAllister announced his conviction Monday night and said he will now face a sentence in federal prison for his crime.
“Akinrinola and his co-conspirator in Nigeria victimized individuals, various elderly people, through a variety of online scams,” he said.
“We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to prioritize the investigation and prosecution of fraud schemes like these, no matter where they originate.
“I also use this conviction as an opportunity to reiterate to all Kansans the vulnerability of our senior citizens to scams and con artists who take advantage of them.
“We must all be vigilant to protect our parents, grandparents, elderly relatives, friends and neighbors from such scams and scammers.”
“Scams such as lottery, online dating, and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) employee impersonation continue to pose a major threat to taxpayers, especially seniors,” said Treasury Inspector General J. Russell George for the Tax Administration.
Scammers will use a variety of techniques to mislead taxpayers. TIGTA will do everything in its power to ensure that those involved in impersonating IRS employees are prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
“We appreciate the help of the United States Department of Justice in this effort,” said McAllister.
According to the charges, Akinrinola, who was granted legal permanent residence in the United States in 2018, was part of a scheme to defraud American victims of money and property.
Akinrinola’s co-conspirator in Nigeria orchestrated various scams, such as misleading victims into believing they were eligible for fictitious prizes or establishing alleged (but false) romantic relationships with victims and exploiting their affections.
The co-conspirator in Nigeria ordered the victims to send money to Akinrinola. While in Kansas as a college student, she received funds from scam victims, in amounts ranging from hundreds of dollars to $ 20,000, via bank transfers, money orders, financial requests, grams of money from Wal-Mart, Western Union, United States. Postal Service and various other means.
Akinrinola kept a portion as a reward and sent most of the funds to his co-conspirator in Nigeria. To do this, I generally used the Sendwave, WorldRemit, or Boss Revolution mobile apps.
Some examples of the scams that Akinrinola and his co-conspirator perpetrated:
Victims 1 and 2 received Facebook messages from a person who was allegedly with FedEx. They were told they won a $ 130,000 grant and that FedEx would deliver the cash after Victim 2 paid a “case filing fee.” Then Victim 2 deposited $ 2,500 in cash into a Bank of America account for the fee. Victim 2 was then told that she had to pay another $ 1,000 for a “winning certificate.” Because Victims 1 and 2 did not have $ 1,000, they allowed the alleged Facebook account holder to purchase three iPhones through their Verizon account. Victims 1 and 2 were instructed to ship the iPhones to Akinrinola (in Kansas). Victim 2 then received an image from the Facebook account claiming to be from the IRS and requesting $ 15,000 prior to the release of the grant funds.
Victim 3 was the victim of an online dating scam and lost approximately $ 8,000, of which she sent $ 900 to Akinrinola via a kiosk at a Walgreens store.
Victim 4 was also the victim of an online dating scam. Victim 4 lost approximately $ 3,815 and sent $ 710 to Akinrinola. Victim 4 believed the money was for children’s musical instruments in Nigeria.
Victim 5 was the victim of a Facebook scam. A man on Facebook, known to Victim 5 as “Steven,” told Victim 5 that he was in the military and needed money, and Victim 5 sent $ 1,000 to Akinrinola in this scam.
Sentencing is scheduled for June 15, 2021 at 9:00 am, before US District Judge Holly L. Teeter.
This case is being investigated by the Inspector General of the Treasury for the Tax Administration.
Assistant United States Attorney Ryan J. Huschka is prosecuting the case.