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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of California

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, July 25, 2019

Alleged Fraudster Indicted In Romance Scam

Franklin Efijemueh Arrested In Connection With Alleged Wire Fraud Scheme

SAN FRANCISCO – Franklin Efijemueh was indicted on wire fraud charges related to an alleged romance fraud scheme, announced United States Attorney David L. Anderson and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge John F. Bennett.  

In an indictment filed July 18, 2019, and unsealed today, a federal grand jury charged Efijemueh, 37, of Lawrenceville, Ga., with participating in a scheme to defraud a San Francisco victim.  According to the indictment, the fraud began in April 2018 when a man going by the name “Allen Green” developed a romantic relationship electronically with the female victim.  The indictment describes how “Allen Green” told the victim he had traveled to Bahrain and was having financial issues while there.  In reality, the indictment alleges, “Allen Green” was in Nigeria.  Based on Green’s representations, the victim sent him money.  Then, in June of 2018, Green began to refer to another individual named “Rashad Cosmos” who purportedly could provide funds for the victim.  The indictment alleges that “Rashad Cosmos” was actually Efijemueh.

The indictment charges Efijemueh with receiving three payments from the victim in connection with the fraudulent promise to provide the victim money.  First, Efijemueh, using the “Rashad Cosmos” moniker, agreed to travel to San Francisco to provide money to the victim if she first would agree to pay him in advance.  Based upon this representation, the victim sent money to accounts designated by Efijemueh.  Second, Efijemueh arranged to meet the victim in a San Francisco hotel room if she brought additional cash to the meeting.  The victim brought the additional cash to the meeting and gave it to Efijemueh when they met.  Third, when the victim arrived at the San Francisco hotel room, Efijemueh showed the victim a safe and claimed that the safe contained large amounts of currency that would have to be cleaned before it could be used.  Efijemueh agreed to clean the currency for an additional fee.  Based on those representations, the victim sent Efijemueh more money.  According to the indictment, the safe actually contained primarily pillows.

In sum, the indictment charges Efijemueh with three counts of wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1343, for his part in the scheme.  Efijemueh was arrested today in Lawrenceville, Georgia.  He made his initial appearance in Atlanta and was released on bond.  His next appearance is scheduled to be on August 9, 2019, at 10:30 a.m., before U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph C. Spero in San Francisco.  

An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.  If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a maximum $250,000 fine on each count of wire fraud.  In addition, the court also may order an additional term of supervised release, fines or other assessments, and restitution, if appropriate.  However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court only after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert David Rees is prosecuting this case with the assistance of Kathy Tat.  This prosecution is the result of an investigation by the FBI.  
 

Updated July 25, 2019