A man is accused of participating in an online "romance scam" that took almost $2 million from victims in the U.S.
Kofi Osei, 28, is from Ghana, but most recently lived in Massachusetts, prosecutors say. He was also known by the names Paula Proia, Kenneth Buck and Jeffrey Anashe. Federal officials charged Osei with seven counts of making false statements to a bank, six counts of wire fraud and two counts of money laundering.
He faces more than 400 years in prison if convicted of all counts.
Between 2016 and 2020, Osei opened bank accounts in the Boston area using fake identity documents, according to prosecutors. The bank accounts were used to receive money from victims of romance scams.
In the scheme, perpetrators created fake online personas to develop romantic relationships with people in the U.S., according to officials. They would then convince the victims to send money or property.
Once the money was in the bank accounts, Osei withdrew the funds and bought cashier's checks or spent the money on personal purchases, prosecutors said.
In total, the fraudulent accounts received about $1.7 million from victims.