COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – The last of seven defendants was sentenced in a romance fraud case that resulted in nearly $12 million in laundered money in 2020.
Kwame Yeboah, 38, of Columbus, was sentenced to 18 months in prison and ordered to pay back the $1.7 million he conspired to launder through bank accounts in his control.
Yeboah, and six other co-defendants, were convicted for laundering money obtained through an online romance scam, though they did not conduct that actual online scamming of the victims. The total amount generated and laundered by the scam totaled over $11.8 million.
The other defendants received sentences between 18 months and five years in prison. One defendant received a term of probation.
|Name||Age||City of Residence||Sentence Received|
|Robert K. Asante||39||Canal Winchester||60 months in prison|
|Eric Ahiekpor||52||Lewis Center||36 months in prison|
|Edward Amankwah||45||Westerville||48 months in prison|
|Uriah Lamdul||30||Columbus||24 months in prison|
|Mohamed Toure||28||Columbus||18 months in prison|
|Kwame Yeboah||38||Columbus||18 months in prison|
|Alexis Wellington||32||Canal Winchester||Term of probation|
The online scam consisted of individuals who created several profiles on online dating web sites. They established relationships and trust with men and woman throughout the United States and would later ask for money, typically for investment or need-based reasons.
The defendants would take the victim’s money, and conducted transactions to conceal, such as transferring funds to other accounts, buying official checks, sending wire funds to Ghana, China and within the country.
In June of 2021, Ahiekpor pleaded guilty for his part in the scam, which included laundering $2.4 million. He was also separately sentenced for wire fraud for his role in defrauding the EIDL Program for $150,000, which he used to buy two boats, an outboard motor and boat trailer. Since that offense occurred after his pretrial release on the money-laundering scam, he was ordered to serve those sentence consecutively.
As well, Toure was also sentenced separately for a COVID fraud scheme in which he received $110,000 in loan proceeds.
In September 2022, Amankwah pleaded guilty to laundering over one-third of the total amount, $4.3 million.