An Ohio man admitted yesterday (September 29) to laundering more than $4 million from people looking for love on dating apps, according to a news release from U.S. Attorney Kenneth Parker of the Southern District of Ohio.
45-year-old Edward Amankwah of Westerville plead guilty to conspiring to launder almost $4.3 million through online romance scams across the United States. Combined with the proceeds of six of Amankwah's co-conspirators, who have all pleaded guilty, the defendants laundered nearly $12 million in total.
The defendants all designed several online dating profiles to attract people with "a sense of affection, and often, romance," according to Parker. When a relationship was established, the defendants requested money from their victims, which was then wired to bank accounts in the U.S., Ghana and China.
During Amankwah's trial, five witnesses took the stand, according to Parker. One reportedly transferred $131,400 to someone claiming to be a member of the military that needed funds to retire early. Another reportedly fell in love with someone on a dating site who claimed to own a mine in China and transferred $70,000 to help over the mine's operating expenses.
Amankwah has agreed to pay about $4.9 million in restitution as a part of his guilty plea, according to Parker. In addition, he could face up to 20 years in prison.