3 charged with wire fraud through romance, inheritance scams
The trio used websites, including Match.com OKCupid.com to lure victims, prosecutors said. In another scheme, they pretended to be a firm offering inheritance payments.
Three people are accused of swindling nearly $1 million from people through romance and business fraud schemes.
Samuel Aniukwu, 46, and Anthony Emeka Ibekie, 55, were both charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois. Aniukwu and Ibeke live in Romeoville and Oswego, respectively. Jennifer Gosha, 48, who lives in west suburban Oak Park faces the same charge.
The trio allegedly gained a person’s trust through a purported romance on social media and dating websites, including Match.com and OKCupid, prosecutors said. The trio then convinced the person to send them money.
In another scheme, they compromised corporate emails and tried soliciting wire transfers, prosecutors said. In the third scheme, the trio told victims they needed to send money in exchange for inheritance payments.
The schemes amassed at least $750,000, according to prosecutors.
Authorities found several devices, including one with bogus letters from Standard Charter Financial Group asking for money during a search of Aniukwu’s home, prosecutors said.
Aniukwu appeared for a detention hearing Tuesday afternoon, prosecutors said. Ibekie is scheduled to appear in court July 24, and Gosha was released after posting bond.