Three New York Residents Convicted For Fraud And Money Laundering Using Funds From Elderly Lottery Scam Victims
WILLIAMSPORT- The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that Christine Bradley Okpako, age 54, of Sayre, Pennsylvania, was sentenced on December 15, 2021, to 37 months’ imprisonment by U.S. District Court Chief Judge Matthew W. Brann for conspiring to launder approximately $1.89 million in mail and wire fraud proceeds.
According to United States Attorney John C. Gurganus, Okpako and her husband, codefendant Jabin Godspower Okpako, age 36, of Nigeria, received approximately $1,898,046 million in proceeds from a mail and wire fraud scheme, laundered the funds through numerous bank and wire transactions in multiple states, and transferred the funds out of the United States to three separate bank accounts in Nigeria.
The mail and wire fraud scheme sought to defraud multiple female victims throughout the United States, ranging in age from 55 to 85. The victims had visited online game, relationship and dating web sites, including Instagram, Facebook, Words with Friends, and What’s App. The conspirators, located in the United States and West Africa, befriended the victims through interaction and exchanges of photos on the web sites via text and instant messaging. After cultivating online relationships with the victims, the conspirators fraudulently induced the victims to send and transmit funds for various fictitious reasons and purposes, including to assist a worker in Alaska who fell from a tower, to purchase an apartment in Washington, D.C., to assist the United Nations, to repair machinery and equipment on an oil drilling rig, to pay for medicine, to recover a $6 million inheritance, and to make an investment in gold. After fraudulently inducing the victims to provide funds for these fictitious reasons, the unindicted conspirators instructed the victims to transmit checks and cash to Okpako and Bradley at their residence in Sayre, Pennsylvania.
Chief Judge Brann sentenced Jabin Godspower Okpako on November 23, 2021, to 87 months’ imprisonment.
The case was investigated by the FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorney George J. Rocktashel prosecuted the case.
# # #