Yesterday the U.S. District Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts announced that a New Bedford man, Chukwunonso “Douglas” Umegbo, had been arrested in London and extradited to Boston where he faces charges of money laundering and wire fraud. The charges are connected to an alleged online “romance scam” created by the defendant.
The U.S. District Attorney’s press release claims that
between no later than 2018 through at least 2019, Umegbo opened bank accounts in the greater Boston area using fake identity documents. It is alleged that the bank accounts were used to receive fraudulently obtained funds from a number of victims of romance scams, in which perpetrators create fictitious online personas to develop online romantic relationships with individuals in the U.S., and then leverage those relationships to obtain money and/or property. Once the fraudulently obtained funds reached the accounts controlled by Umegbo, Umegbo allegedly withdrew the money in cash, used the funds to purchase cashier’s checks, or spent the money on personal purchases. Altogether, the fraudulent accounts received more than $560,000.
If convicted, the defendant could be sentenced to 30 years in prison. He is being detained while the case is pending. His next heraing is set for March 2, 2023.