“Romance scammer” who posed as St. Louis veterinarian gets 3 years in federal prison after woman loses $1.1 million | #DatingScams | #LoveScams | #RomanceScans

A Texas man was sentenced to three years in federal prison on Tuesday for his part in a romance scam that swindled a Missouri woman out of more than $1.1 million. He has also been ordered to repay the money. 

Rotimi Oladimeji, 38, of Richardson, Texas, pleaded guilty last year to two counts of mail fraud, two counts of wire fraud, and one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud, in connection with the scheme, the U.S. Attorney’s office in St. Louis said in a news release.

Oladimeji and two others — co-defendants Olumide Akrinmade and Adewale Adesanya — spotted the victim on the “Silver Singles” online dating site, prosecutors said. Posing as a Belgian national who was a veterinarian and animal behaviorist living in St. Louis, the scammers made plans to meet with her but never followed through. Meanwhile, Oladimeji tricked the victim into sending money, in cash and cashier’s checks, through FedEx to Akrinmade’s home in Texas, authorities said. Oladimeji is accused of recruiting Akrinmade and Adesanya into the scheme and directing them to receive those funds sent from the victim. 

The scammers claimed the man needed money because he was not being allowed to leave the United Arab Emirates, where he had gone for a business deal. Federal prosecutors said the victim lost nearly $1.2 million. Oladimeji had received about 20% of the money but is responsible for fully reimbursing the victim unless his two co-defendants pay back some of it, said U.S. Attorney’s office spokesperson Robert Patrick.

Oladimeji was born in Nigeria and could be deported after his release from prison, the U.S. Attorney’s office said.

Akrinmade and Adesanya also have pleaded guilty to federal charges. Akrinmade was sentenced to 15 months in prison and ordered to repay $46,500. Adesanya was sentenced to four years in prison and ordered to repay $1.5 million for various fraud schemes.

Romance scams like this one are not uncommon, according to the Federal Trade Commission, and they have been on the rise in recent years.

Several high-profile catfishing schemes involving fraud in the U.S. in 2023 alone include one case involving a Florida woman who pleaded guilty in the spring to cheating an 87-year-old Holocaust survivor out of her life savings in order to fund her luxurious lifestyle, prosecutors said at the time. 

Another case involved a Ghanaian social media influencer who was expedited back to the U.S. from the United Kingdom after being charged for her role in a romance scam that targeted elderly Americans

In separate romance scams, a New York man was charged in connection with a scheme that deceived women out of more than $1.8 million, and a woman in California lost more than $2.3 million over five months to a con that used a fake dating app as a front, CBS Los Angeles reported.

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