A Texas man has pleaded guilty to being part of a romance scam that cheated women in South Dakota and 9 other states across the country out of about $1.6-million dollars.
52-year old Fola Alabi is scheduled for sentencing on April 25th in federal court in Rhode Island on conspiracy and money laundering charges.
According to prosecutors, a man – often posing as a U-S Army general stationed overseas – would befriend women online and gradually gain their trust by faking romantic or personal interest.
The women, many widowed or divorced in their 70s and 80s, would send cash or checks to addresses and companies controlled by Alabi. The money was deposited into accounts he controlled, then quickly withdrawn or transferred.
Federal investigators found photographs and videos on Alabi’s cellphone of packages containing cash and checks from his victims.
One Arizona woman said she lost $334,000 and didn’t have enough money to pay bills or to buy food while feeling “shame, embarrassment, and guilt over being scammed.”
A Rhode Island woman sent a check for $60,000 and was going to send another $240,000 before her bank put a hold on her account and contacted local police.