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Scammers Indicted on Charges of Wire Fraud and Money Laundering

The U.S. Attorney announced that a federal grand jury indicted eleven people allegedly involved in scamming elderly victims out of money by participating in a romance scheme.

Homeland Security Investigations, the Federal Bureau of Investigation Dallas Field Office, and the IRS – Criminal Investigation performed an investigation with assistance from multiple other organizations. The large-scale operation resulted in the arrest of these individuals for a range of financial crimes.

The charges each person faces include conspiracy to launder monetary instruments and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Law enforcement revealed that most of the defendants named in the indictment were associated with an organized crime syndicate that originated in Nigeria.

Court documents show that the defendants targeted mainly widowed or divorced senior citizens by posing as potential romantic interests. To locate their victims, they used dating sites, such as PlentyOfFish, JSwipe, Match.com, and ChristianMingle. After gaining a victim’s trust, they would allegedly make up stories about their financial troubles and request assistance. Some of their reasons for needing money included massive debt, expenses for essential travel overseas, and taxes to release funds from an inheritance. Once they were allowed access to bank accounts, they would steal tens of thousands of dollars at a time from each target’s account and disappear from their lives.

Most defendants face similar charges in the Northern District of Texas for conspiracy to commit money laundering and wire fraud. Two of the defendants face charges of conspiracy to commit mail fraud. An indictment does not mean a person committed a crime. It is merely an allegation of criminal activity.

If convicted, the alleged offenders could face as much as ten years in federal prison for money laundering conspiracy and up to twenty years for conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Indictments for Money Laundering and Fraud in a Separate Texas Case

A federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Texas indicted twenty-three defendants for crimes similar to those of the eleven defendants in the Northern District of Texas. The U.S. Attorney announced that these individuals face charges of conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. The defendants allegedly used romance schemes, unemployment insurance fraud, business email compromise, and investor fraud to steal money from their victims.

Court documents revealed the defendants would allegedly coordinate detailed plans to steal from their victims. Then they would launder the money through different bank accounts and send it to their co-conspirators, businesses, and other bank accounts in Asia and Africa. They targeted more than 100 older adults, government entities, and companies worldwide, obtaining at least $17 million with their scams.

Each person could face up to 20 years in federal prison if convicted of these charges.

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Rosenthal Kalabus & Therrian will fight by your side to protect your rights following an arrest for a white-collar crime. The penalties you face could ruin your life and affect your family. If you’re forced to serve a prison sentence, you will likely experience many challenges upon your release, such as having trouble finding a job or place to live.

At Rosenthal Kalabus & Therrian, our legal team will be your advocate and work to secure your freedom and future. Call us at (972) 369-0577 today for a free consultation if you were arrested or charged with a white-collar crime in Texas.