Two Sentenced to 11 and 7 Years in Federal Prison for $4.6 Million Internet Romance Fraud
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – KEN EJIMOFOR EZEAH, 35, and AKUNNA BAIYINA EJIOFOR, 33, have been sentenced to 11 and 7 years in federal prison respectively for their roles in a fraudulent romance scheme involving victims throughout the United States, announced Mark A. Yancey, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma.
On February 16, 2016, a grand jury indicted Ezeah and Ejiofor for conspiracy and wire fraud. According to the indictment, the scheme involved using false profiles to open accounts on online dating web sites and then courting victims by pretending to be successful financial advisors or affiliated with charitable causes. Over time, through supposedly romantic relationships, the defendants caused victims to share personal information about their finances and then encouraged victims to wire them money on the pretext of managing their investments. The conspirators actually kept the money for personal use. The two wire fraud counts concerned wire transfers from a victim in Oklahoma City that totaled more than $1 million. On June 22, 2016, a grand jury returned a superseding indictment that added one count of aggravated identity theft and 16 counts of wire fraud relating to additional victims.
Both Ezeah and Ejiofor were arrested in Houston, Texas, on January 27, 2016. Ezeah has been in federal custody since that time. He pled guilty to conspiracy on February 1, 2017. Ejiofor, who was released on bond after her arrest, exercised her right to a jury trial and was convicted on all counts on March 30, 2017. She has been in federal custody since her conviction.
Today United States District Court Judge Timothy D. DeGiusti sentenced Ezeah to 11 years in prison and three years of supervised release. Ezeah was also ordered to pay $4,678,302.79 in restitution to ten individual victims. At a separate sentencing on September 28, 2017, Ejiofor received 7 years in prison and three years of supervised release. She owes the same restitution to the same ten victims, jointly and severally with Ezeah. Reference is made to public filings for further information.
This case is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy W. Ogilvie.