Three Nigerian men have been sentenced to a total of 235 years after scamming “millions” of people using dating sites and fraud schemes.
Oladimeji Seun Ayelotan, Rasaq Aderoju Raheem and Femi Alexander Mewase were sentenced by a court in Mississippi in the US, after being extradited from South Africa in 2015.
The men are said to have used online dating platforms, among other methods, to befriend women and build online relationships with them, before persuading them to hand over money or help to carry out scams.
Some victims were used to launder money via MoneyGram and Western Union, and some were asked to package and ship fraudulent merchandise and cash counterfeit cheques.
Ayelotan, Raheem and Mewase are said to have taken “tens of millions of dollars in intended losses”.
A spokesperson from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency, which was leading the investigation, said: “The total number of victims is believed to number in the millions across the globe. Our investigators are still currently working cases”.
The men’s crimes are said to date back to 2001, and they were found guilty of things like wire fraud, mail fraud, credit card fraud and theft of government property.
Ayelotan and Raheem were also said to be guilty of committing bank fraud and money laundering.
Overall, Ayelotan was sentenced to 95 years in prison, Raheem was sentenced to 115 years and Mewase to 25 years.
Reports have said that 21 defendants have been charged in this case and 11 have been sentenced.