The criminal group apparently laundered over $16m from 2012 to 2016, using tactics that included online dating scams.
The US attorneys’ office said that the murdered 40-year-old man, Zachary Howell, is accused of recruiting almost 20 people from the Youngstown area to join the international crime gang, which started five years ago.
Howell was found in a burned SUV in Youngstown this February, a murder that is thought to be unconnected to his mid-level role in the criminal operation.
The alleged criminal gang is thought to have used a variety of tactics to defraud people and institutions out of money.
This included convincing real estate attorneys to transfer the proceeds of a sale to a fake bank account, and seducing people on internet dating sites to obtain their financial details and email accounts.
And 20 people have now been charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering in a recent indictment by the FBI.
Speaking about the indictment, Todd Worth from the Youngstown Federal Bureau of Investigation said: “We may not be able to recapture their money, but we at least put a dent in the organization and prevent further fraud.”
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