Union Omaha defender Abdul Osumanu has been indicted on federal charges related to a pair of internet romance scams in which it is alleged that he and another defendant defrauded two individuals of over $200,000.
The Omaha World-Herald was the first to report the news.
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The charges against Osumanu and co-defendant Banabas Ganidekam include two counts of mail fraud, two counts of wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and one count of receipt of stolen money.
According to court filings, the intention of the scheme was for Osumanu and Ganidekam to “enrich themselves by falsely cultivating relationships through online scams with the victims and thereby causing the victims to send money to persons working with the defendants and to accounts controlled by defendants.”
The indictment states that the money subject to forfeiture in connection with the case is at least $24,882 for Osumanu and at least $189,404 for Ganidekam.
The Department of Justice for the Southern District of West Virginia indicated in a press release that the indictments are part of a broader investigation in which nine people were charged with defrauding at least 200 victims of over $2.5 million.
Osumanu played collegiately at Marshall University from 2017 to 2019. During that time he also played for a trio of teams in USL League Two, the de facto fourth tier of U.S. soccer. He signed with USL League One side Union Omaha in March and had played in each of the team’s first give games.
“Last Thursday afternoon, Union Omaha became aware of a pending legal action involving one of our players,” Union Omaha wrote in a statement posted on Twitter. “We are currently gathering information and are fully cooperating with authorities.”
A club spokesperson confirmed that Osumanu has been suspended from all club activities.
According to the unsealed indictment, Osumanu and Ganidekam are alleged to have engaged in two scams, which took on a similar pattern. A fake online profile would be created, and an online relationship would be cultivated over as many as 8-10 months, at which point the victim would be asked for money. Any requests to meet in person or via video chat would be refused.
In the first instance, which began in 2017, an Indiana victim was asked for small amounts, usually around $200, in the form of cash or gift cards. Then the victim was asked to help pay inheritance tax on gold bars that the fake profile said they inherited. These requests for money reached as high as $10,000.
In the second instance, in which an online relationship with a California woman began in January of 2020, the victim was asked to help fund an investment opportunity which required an up-front fee of $46,000. The amount was paid to Ganidekam with Osumanu getting a cut. The victim then paid additional money when she was told that the fees had increased.