Feds track international dating app conspiracy to Fairfield man: court docs
Wire transfers, shell companies, some of America’s largest banks and international money laundering, per the DOJ.
CINCINNATI (WXIX) - A man with ties to Butler County faces federal charges in a long-running conspiracy involving fake dating profiles, hundreds of thousands in wire transfers and money laundering on an international scale, according to the US Department of Justice.
DeLove Kofi Amuzu is a Ghanan national who lived in Fairfield during the alleged scheme, according to an indictment handed down Wednesday by a federal grand jury sitting in Cincinnati.
Amuzu is charged on 10 counts in the alleged scheme, which prosecutors say lasted from August 2018 until Jan. 13, 2022.
He is one of multiple coconspirators accused in the case, according to the indictment. The other defendants are not named and were not presented to the grand jury.
The US District Court for the Southern District of Ohio has jurisdiction. Judge Timothy Black is presiding over the case.
The conspirators, according to the indictment, created fake profiles on dating websites using false information and pictures of other people.
Pretending to be the people pictured in the fake profiles, they allegedly contacted people online email, phone and using instant messaging services.
“By expressing romantic interest in [a] victim, members of the conspiracy misled the victim into believing he or she was in a relationship with the person pictured in the false profile,” the indictment reads.
The conspirators allegedly gave some pretext to explain why they could just never meet in person, including—most often—that they were living abroad.
Once a romantic relationship had been established, according to the indictment, the conspirators made “false representations” to get victims to transfer money or mail valuables.
“For example,” the indictment reads, “the conspirators commonly falsely represented that the person pictured in the false profile was expecting a large inheritance of gold bars and needed financial assistance to bring them to the United States.”
Other false representations, according to the indictment, included that a conspirator needed money for a plane ticket, for medical bills or for bail after being falsely imprisoned.
Sometimes the conspirators received these things directly; sometimes they were sent to a third party.
Amuzu’s Fairfield address is listed as the destination—and Amuzu the recipient—of three packages allegedly obtained through the scheme from September-December 2018.
He was also allegedly the registered agent on an Ohio LLC—Obdomdel Management Agency, a shell company—in whose name the conspirators opened numerous bank accounts for the victims to deposit money.
One of those accounts was allegedly opened with Bank of America. Another account, apparently in Amuzu’s own name, was opened with JP Morgan Chase.
According to the indictment, the conspirators then laundered the money by making large wire transfers, including to countries in Africa, and lied to bank officials about why.
In late 2018, Amuzu allegedly transferred more than $60,000 from the Chase account and more than $200,000 from the BofA account to one or more Ghanan accounts for “family expenses,” “purchase of house” and “pop family support,” per the memo lines.
The indictment does not list a number of known victims or specific dating apps allegedly used in the conspiracy.
Amuzu is currently outside Ohio and is in the process of being brought here for her arraignment, according to a DOJ spokesperson.
The charges against him include conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud and money laundering.
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