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Press Release

Nigerian Man Sentenced to Serve 18 Months in Federal Prison for Role in "Romance Scam"

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Oklahoma

OKLAHOMA CITY – Yesterday, ABDUL WARIS AKINSANYA, 26, a Nigerian citizen living in Oklahoma City, was sentenced to serve 18 months in federal prison for conspiring to defraud others, announced U.S. Attorney Robert J. Troester.

On May 4, 2023, Akinsanya was charged by Information with conspiracy to defraud. According to the Information, in May of 2020 Akinsanya opened an account at City National Bank using an alias and a forged passport. The Information alleges that co-conspirators of Akinsanya used a fake persona online to trick a victim from Alabama into sending $2,650 in money orders through the mail. The fraud was carried out using a romance scam, in which fraudsters use fake personas to gain the trust of victims, leading to financial exploitation. Akinsanya later deposited the money orders into the City National Bank account.

On October 12, 2023, Akinsanya pleaded guilty, and admitted to setting up bank accounts under false names, where he would deposit money obtained through romance scams, keeping a percentage of the money for his role in the scheme.

At the sentencing hearing yesterday, U.S. District Judge Joe Heaton sentenced Akinsanya to serve 18 months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release, and $2,650 in restitution. In announcing the sentence, the court noted the sophisticated nature of the scheme and the seriousness of the offense.

This case is the result of an investigation by the FBI Oklahoma City Field Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney William Farrior prosecuted the case.

Reference is made to public filings for additional information.

Updated March 6, 2024