COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — A federal jury has found a Columbus-area man guilty for his involvement in romance scams where he made off with over $1 million from victims on dating websites.
Seth Nyamekye, 39, was convicted of 35 counts of money laundering crimes for managing a bank account for a romance scammer ring. Nyamekye worked with others in the group from at least June 2016 to February 2018 and received at least eight victims’ money directly to his bank account, according to Southern District of Ohio U.S. Attorney Kenneth Parker.
The romance scam ring had several fake accounts on dating websites and would connect with men and women around the U.S., getting them romantically attached before convincing them to send money, for investment or help, to different bank accounts of the fraudster’s choice. Nyamekye managed one of these bank accounts — under the name Gloseth Ventures LLC — and personally saw $1.3 million sent from people conned by fake profiles, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
While Nyamekye saw money from eight victims overall, the U.S. Attorney’s Office highlighted three in particular:
- A scammer posed as a soldier, and convinced a victim they connected with to send them a $170,000 wire transfer to Nyamekye’s bank account.
- Pretending to be a man overseas in the military again, a scammer got another man to fall in love with the fake profile and send Nyamekye money twice, totaling $73,000.
- A fraudster convinced a woman that she was engaged to their fake profile and got her to send $50,000 to Nyamekye’s bank account.
After he would get the money in his bank account, Nyamekye would take a cut of the victims’ money before moving the funds — multiple times in withdrawals of more than $10,000 — to other places where the other members of the scam ring could get to them, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The Canal Winchester conman faces up to 20 years in prison on 18 of the money laundering accounts, and 10 years on each of the other 17 counts.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office did not name any other suspects from the romance scam ring, or share any information about them. Parker did share an action that victims of fake dating profiles can take.
“If you believe you are the victim of an online romance scam, I urge you to file a complaint at ic3.gov,” said U.S. Attorney Kenneth L. Parker.