BOSTON – A Massachusetts man was sentenced today in federal court in Boston for his role in a fraud scheme that stole more than $8 million from hundreds of romance scam victims.
Kofi Osei, 30, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Indira Talwani to 54 months in prison and two years of supervised release. Osei was also ordered to pay $4,122,558 in restitution and forfeiture. In September 2022, Osei pleaded guilty to seven counts of making a false statement to a bank, six counts of wire fraud and two counts of money laundering.
Between 2016 and 2020, Osei opened at least 77 bank accounts using fake passports in others’ names and then received and quickly withdrew proceeds obtained from fraud victims. The victims, often elderly, were the targets of romance scams. Osei’s co-conspirators created and used fictious online dating profiles to capitalize on the victims’ desire for companionship, gain their trust and direct victims to transfer money based on lies. Osei coordinated with his co-conspirators to receive the fraud proceeds into the bank accounts he opened. Osei then withdrew the fraud proceeds in cash or with a cashier’s check, sending a portion back to his co-conspirators. In total, the money-laundering scheme received more than $8 million in fraud proceeds, $4 million of which went directly into accounts that Osei opened and controlled.
United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins; Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division; Ketty Larco-Ward, Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Boston Division; and Michael J. Krol, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in New England made the announcement. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kristen A. Kearney and Christopher J. Markham of Rollins’ Securities, Financial & Cyber Fraud Unit prosecuted the case.