A Butler County man set up fake online profiles in order to lure victims interested in romance, then conned the victims into sending him and other co-conspirators more than $1 million in total.
According to a press release from US Attorney Kenneth Parker’s office, 37-year-old Benjamin Adu Acheampong, a dual Gahanian and American citizen living in Fairfield, operated the romance fraud between January 2019 through July 2021.
Acheampong, with others, created fake online profiles and used them to express romantic interest in people, officials said. However, once their victim believed they were in a relationship with the person depicted in the fake profile, Acheampong and his co-conspirators would convince their victims to send money by mail or wire transfer, according to the press release.
Federal officials said Acheampong used false narratives to coax victims to part with their money, including telling them the person in the fake profile “was expecting a large inheritance of gold and needed financial assistance to bring it to the US,” or that they needed funds for medical expenses or a plane ticket, the press release says.
Through this scam, Acheampong allegedly scammed his victims out of $1 million that he then laundered through multiple bank accounts, including accounts in Africa. Officials said he falsely represented those transfers were for paying workers and family expenses.
Officials said Acheampong also stole more than $20,000 in COVID relief funds by applying for a Payment Protection Program loan for which he did not qualify.
He faces seven charges relating to fraud and money laundering that could get him more than 20 years in prison, if he’s convicted on all counts.
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