North Texas woman gets 10 years, ordered to pay $2.2M in restitution for romance scams | #DatingScams | #LoveScams | #RomanceScans

A Denton County woman convicted late last year on charges related to a large “romance scheme” operation in North Texas has been sentenced to 10 years in prison, federal prosecutors for the northern district of Texas announced.

Ijeoma Okoro, 33, of Aubrey, has also been ordered to pay more than $2.2 million in restitution, the attorney’s office said in a Tuesday news release. Aubrey is a Denton County city about 50 miles north of downtown Dallas.

Okoro was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, the attorney’s office said. She was sentenced Monday.

Chief U.S. District Judge David Godbey applied an enhancement to her sentence, the attorney’s office said, adding that the judge found that Okoro “committed perjury when she testified at trial that she never conspired with anyone to commit fraud or money laundering.”

Okoro was among 11 people arrested in September 2021 in connection with the scam operation, which targeted the elderly, according to prosecutors. Investigators believe the scams took place between 2015 and 2020 and led to victims losing tens of thousands of dollars. Scammers reportedly used fake names and online dating sites to lure victims.

11 charged with defrauding elderly victims of money by wooing them through dating sites, feds say

“Once the fraudsters ingratiated themselves to their often divorced or widowed victims with promises of long-term commitment, the fraudsters concocted elaborate stories about why they needed financial assistance,” the attorney’s office said.

To date, three others who were arrested in 2021 — Emanuel Stanley Orji, Frederick Orji and Oluwalobamise Michael Moses — have pleaded guilty to similar charges in connection with romance scams, according to online court records. Emanuel Stanley and Frederick Orji has each been sentenced to 37 months in prison, and Moses has been sentenced to two years.

One of the suspects, Chukwuemeka Orji, also convicted of crimes related to the scam operation remains at large, the U.S. attorney’s office said.

Okoro’s attorney did not immediately return an email requesting comment.

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