USA: 2 men plead guilty to laundering $750K from a dating scam

KY woman lost $757,000 in romance scam. Two men plead guilty, face up to 20 years.
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NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Two men pleaded guilty in an online dating scheme where a Kentucky woman was scammed out of more than $750,000.

Kahad A. Wuupini, of Seattle, Washington, and Thomas D. Inkoom, of Newark, New Jersey, each pleaded guilty Monday to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, The Lexington Herald-Leader reported.

Court records said the two men led the woman to believe she was dating an Army sergeant named James Nehmer.

The three allegedly used Facebook to target the victim, who lives in Nicholasville.

The men convinced the woman to send them cash and checks for an investment that didn’t exist, records said. The woman sent $757,000 to the men in about four months, in transfers as large as $95,000, records said.

The two used their business accounts to accept money obtained from the woman as part of the scheme and then sent out checks to other people or businesses in the U.S. and Ghana, according to court records.

Both men are African natives who laundered the money to people and businesses in the U.S. and Ghana, records said.

A third man, Baaki Abdul Majeed, of Seattle is also involved in the case. His trial is scheduled for June 1.

In a related case, the FBI determined that the photo of Nehmer being used in the scam was of an Army sergeant whose name and picture had been used dozens of times in military romance scams linked to Ghana and Nigeria, James Huggins, an FBI special agent, said in an affidavit.

The FBI arrested a man who came to Nicholasville in 2017 to pick up more money from the woman, but prosecutors moved to drop the charge after authorities figured out he had been coerced to make the pick-up.

Wuupini and Inkoom will be sentenced in July. The two men each face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

The FBI offers guidance on how to avoiding being victimized by various schemes.

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