Ghanaian National Ordered to Pay $156,073 in Restitution for Role in Romance Fraud Scheme
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of West Virginia
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Banabas Ganidekam, 25, of Ghana, was sentenced today to three years of federal probation, including eight months on home detention with electronic monitoring, and ordered to pay $156,073 in restitution for wire fraud.
According to court documents and statements made in court, Ganidekam admitted to his role in a romance fraud scheme. From June 2019 until at least May 14, 2020, Ganidekam received approximately $189,404 from at least 14 victims who were convinced to send the money for a variety of false and fraudulent reasons. The victims include a woman who in January and February 2020 sent thousands of dollars to a false persona she believed was her boyfriend.
Ganidekam admitted to receiving the fraudulent proceeds through his bank account in Ohio, where he lived at the time, via wire transfers and personal and cashier’s checks. Ganidekam further admitted to transferring a portion of these fraudulent proceeds to his bank account in Huntington, and to keeping some of the victims’ money for himself while forwarding some to others in the United States and abroad.
United States Attorney Will Thompson made the announcement and commended the investigative work of United States Secret Service, the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation-Office of Inspector General (FDIC-OIG), the West Virginia State Police, and the South Charleston Police Department.
United States District Judge Robert C. Chambers imposed the sentence. Assistant United States Attorneys R. Gregory McVey and Kathleen Robeson prosecuted the case.
The public is encouraged to report potential online fraud activity or scams at https://www.ic3.gov.
If you or someone you know is age 60 or older and has been a victim of financial fraud, help is standing by at the National Elder Fraud Hotline: 1-833-FRAUD-11 (1-833-372-8311). This U.S. Department of Justice hotline, managed by the Office for Victims of Crime, is staffed by experienced professionals who provide personalized support to callers by assessing the needs of the victim, and identifying relevant next steps. Case managers will identify appropriate reporting agencies, provide information to callers to assist them in reporting, connect callers directly with appropriate agencies, and provide resources and referrals, on a case-by-case basis. Reporting is the first step. Reporting can help authorities identify those who commit fraud and reporting certain financial losses due to fraud as soon as possible can increase the likelihood of recovering losses. The hotline is staffed 10am-6pm Eastern Time, Monday-Friday. English, Spanish, and other languages are available.
A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia. Related court documents and information can be found on PACER by searching for Case No. 3:21-cr-0071.
Updated August 25, 2022