Saturday, February 4, 2017

Photo: Nigerian Jailed 27 Years In US Over Love Scam

Olayinka Ilumsa Sunmola, 33, of Lagos, Nigeria, was sentenced this morning to serve 324 months behind bars for an elaborate international romance scam he perpetrated from 2007 to 2014, U.S. Attorney Donald S. Boyce for the Southern District of Illinois announced today. Evidence presented in court showed that Sunmola was the ringleader of a criminal organization operating in South Africa that targeted hundreds of women across the United States, including many in the St. Louis area. The thieves managed to make away with millions of dollars in wire transfers and various electronics through the simple promise of true, enduring love.

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service began investigating Sunmola in 2012, when a woman in the Southern District of Illinois complained that she had been conned by a man masquerading online as "Elias Dyess."


The investigation soon revealed that "Dyess" was merely one of the dozens of fictitious online profiles Sunmola and his confederates concocted on dating websites like Match.com to lure unsuspecting women. Portraying himself as an American soldier stationed overseas, or an engineer working on a large government contract in South Africa, Sunmola cultivated romantic relationships with dozens of women across the country.

To further the conceit, he used photographs stolen from the hacked online accounts of real American men and researched facts about the American cities he pretended to be from. He also showered the women with poetry, cards, flowers, stuffed animals, and chocolates. Sunmola’s purpose was to lead each of his victims to believe that he was her "Prince Charming," her one true love, and the man with whom she was destined to spend the rest of her life.

Once he had successfully beguiled his target, Sunmola began to manufacture phony emergencies, each of which required increasingly large amounts of money from his victims. He played upon each woman’s romantic feelings and vulnerabilities, manipulating them into wiring

him money or shipping him laptop computers, tablets, and cell phones – equipment he told them he needed to complete his government mission. The women were invariably told to direct their shipments to "Ilumsa Sunmola," who was passed off as their lover’s driver, or a co-worker, or a hotel manager. In fact, it was Sunmola himself who was slowly bleeding them dry. When the money inevitably ran out, or the women refused to send more, Sunmola would abruptly end the relationship.

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