Minnesota man accused of stealing $1.6 million from Colorado woman in romance scam
A Minnesota man was indicted on 21 counts of wire fraud and money laundering for allegedly procuring $1.6 million from a Colorado woman he met on a dating website.
Adetomiwa Seun Akindele, 37, represented himself as Francesco ‘Frank’ Labato on a dating website, according to the indictment.
A widowed Colorado woman identified in the indictment by the initials ‘N.M.’ began communicating with Akindele through his fake identity in January 2018. Messaging between the two advanced to personal emails in February and then by phone mails and text messages in March.
“The online dating profile for ‘Frank Labato’ contained fake names, locations, images, and photos,” as stated in the indictment. “During these communications, ‘Frank Labato’ provided N.M. with additional false details about his personal and work background, images, and photos, to substantiate his fictitious persona.”
By October, he had obtained 21 “business” loans from the woman, claiming at first he needed financial help while working out of the country, later telling her suffered a medical emergency while working abroad.
“Over the course of the scheme, ‘Frank’ executed three fraudulent ‘promissory notes’ to reassure the victim that she would be repaid,” the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado stated in a press release.
Akindele instructed N.M to deposit more than $1 million in 10 separate wire transfers into a cryptocurrency account he controlled. Akindele converted that money into various cryptocurrencies, laundered it across multiple crypto exchanges and then converted it back into U.S. dollars and deposited it into his own bank accounts, according to federal prosecutors.
The other deposits were made directly into bank accounts.
The indictment charges Akindele with 10 counts of wire fraud and 11 counts of money laundering. The indictment was issued Nov. 1 and a warrant was issued that same day.
The U.S. Marshals Service brought Akindele to the Sherburne County Sheriff’s Office jail on Nov. 22, a jail administrator there told CBS4.
Akindele is a citizen of Nigeria residing in Minnesota, according to the indictment. Online public records show his most recent address is in St. Paul. Sherburne County’s jail is in Elk Ridge, a short distance northwest of the Twin Cities.
After appearing in federal court in Denver on Dec. 16, Akindele was granted his release on the condition he wear a GPS monitor and hand over his passport to authorities. No future hearings have been scheduled to date.
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