Ghana Citizen Pleads Guilty To Conspiracy To Commit Wire Fraud
CONTACT: Barbara Burns
PHONE: (716) 843-5817
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BUFFALO, N.Y.- U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Jason Osei Bonsu, 35, of Ghana, pled guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud before U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott S. Allen, Jr., who is handling the case, stated that between December 2015 and May 2017, Bonsu and his co-conspirators devised an internet romance scheme to defraud victims and obtain money.
In furtherance of the scheme, Bonsu’s co-conspirators utilized a dating website, MillionaireMatch.com, to engage victims in communications online and over the phone to develop a rapport with victims and convince victims that they were developing romantic relationships via the internet. Victims received alleged pictures of the co-conspirators that were actually photographs of others downloaded from the internet. For example, Victim 1, who resides in the Western District of New York, received images of a person known to her as “Marvin Roecker,” but the image actually depicted a real estate agent from Texas, whose name is not “Marvin Roecker.”
After successfully building rapport, victims were asked to wire money to assist with fictitious business ventures, family emergencies, or inheritances. Victims did so, wiring funds to accounts in Ghana, the United Kingdom, and to accounts in the United States controlled by Ghanaian nationals, including Bonsu.
On March 2, 2016, Victim 1 wired $65,000 to Amen’s TD Bank account. Text messages between the defendant and co-defendant Adams Amen demonstrate that both were participants in the scheme to defraud Victim 1. For instance, Amen and Bonsu discussed quickly withdrawing Victim 1’s money to prevent the bank from becoming suspicious. Subsequently, on March 21, 2017, following a request by “Marvin Roecker,” Victim 1 wired another $180,000 to a bank account located in the United Kingdom, controlled by a co-conspirator.
Victims lost over $211,000 as a result of Bonsu’s participation in the scheme.
The plea is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Kevin P. Lyons.
Sentencing is scheduled for June 4, 2018, at 12:30 p.m. before Judge Arcara.