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Press Release

Cincinnati area man sentenced to 78 months in prison for laundering proceeds from online romance-fraud conspiracy

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Ohio

CINCINNATI – De-love Kofi Amuzu, 25, of Fairfield, Ohio, was sentenced in U.S. District Court here today to 78 months in prison for his role as a money launderer in a romance fraud conspiracy that targeted elderly victims looking for companionship online.

According to court documents, members of the conspiracy created fake online dating profiles using stolen photographs and false information, then communicated with the victims via chats, texts and phone calls while pretending to be the imaginary person pictured in the profile. They commonly claimed to be living abroad to explain why they could not meet in person.

The conspirators instructed the victims to transfer money, often tens of thousands of dollars at a time, to accounts controlled by Amuzu. They also commonly instructed victims to mail Amuzu cash or other items of value, like Rolex watches and iPhones. After receiving the victims’ money, Amuzu laundered it to accounts in Ghana. Investigators tracked more than $1.1 million in fraud proceeds that flowed through Amuzu’s accounts. Amuzu was ordered to pay $835,487.65 in restitution.

“According to court documents, several victims lost so much money to the scheme that they were forced to declare bankruptcy,” said Kenneth L. Parker, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio. “Anyone who suspects they or a loved one is a victim of such a fraud can report it by calling the National Elder Fraud Hotline at 1-833-FRAUD-11, or go to the Department of Justice’s Elder Justice Initiative website for more information –”

A federal grand jury indicted Amuzu in 2022. He pleaded guilty on Feb. 2, 2024, to conspiring to launder money. His case was announced in October 2022 as part of the Justice Department’s National Elder Justice Sweep, an initiative to increase awareness of the various fraudulent schemes targeting the elderly.

Kenneth L. Parker, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio; Elena Iatarola, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Cincinnati Division; Butler County Prosecutor Michael T. Gmoser and Butler County Sheriff Richard K. Jones announced the sentence imposed today by U.S. District Judge Timothy S. Black. U.S. Attorney Parker also recognized the contributions of Garrett Baker and Susan Monnin of the Butler County Prosecutor’s Office, as well as Butler County Prosecutor’s Office Investigator Steve Isgro. Assistant United States Attorney Julie D. Garcia is representing the United States in this case.

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Updated June 12, 2024

Elder Justice
Financial Fraud