A Nigerian in the United States of America, Augustine Amechie, has been sentenced to a year and a day in prison over a romance scam.
Amechie, a resident of Huntington, West Virginia, was jailed on March 7th 2022.
A news release from the US Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of West Virginia confirmed the news.
Augustine Amechie engaged in Romance Scams
The 24-year-old Nigerian is reported to have created fake online profiles and engaged in virtual friendships for years with his victims then found a way to steal their money.
According to thestar.com, Amechie had managed to rake in over $360,000 from his fraudulent activities since 2017.
He was arrested last year and indicted on two counts of wire fraud, one count of unlawful monetary transactions and one count of receipt of stolen money.
He pleaded guilty to the charges in November 2021 and was sentenced this month.
Aside his one year jail sentence, he has to pay restitution of $192,762 to the Federal Government.
For his activities, Amechi had numerous aliases.
He was also known as Augustine Chukwu-Noe, Augustine A Chukwu Noe and Augustine Chukwu.
He has stolen from over 30 victims in his three years of operations, the court was told.
From 2017 to 2020, he carried out his operations by contacting people via email, text, social media or online dating sites.
Amechi got his victims to believe he was a genuine friend interested in romance or business.
He utilised many false identities to carry out his scams and often found a way to get his victims to send him money.
Court documents show he made $108,601 in direct cash and more than $150,000 in cash mailed in packages and more in deposits, money orders, gift cards and even iPhones.
Augustine Amechi’s creative scams
Authorities detailed some of the scams he managed to use to lure his victims.
He told one of the victims he had discovered a gold mine and needed money to ship gold back to the U.S where they would enjoy the profits.
He also convinced another victim who was in a virtual romance with him to send him $20,000 to pay off a bad debt.