A 51-year-old man of Nigerian origin, Ronayerin Ogolor, has been
sentenced to three years in prison for internet fraud in the United
Ogolor was sentenced by US Chief District Judge, Beth Phillips, and was
ordered to pay $871,739 in restitution to his 13 victims.
Court documents said 13 victims from around the US and Italy each sent tens of thousands of dollars to Ogolor.
In one case, a widow from Indiana who received a friend request on
Facebook was led to believe that one of Ogolor’s accomplices was a
widower named ‘Lawrence Garrison’ working on an oil rig off the coast of
In October 2019, Ogolor pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to
commit wire fraud. He accepted responsibility for his role in a scam
that targeted singles seeking love, some of them elderly, through
Facebook and dating websites ChristianMingle.com and LetsHangout.com.
According to a statement from the US Department of Justice, since 2013,
Ogolor and his accomplices created several bogus online dating profiles
then contacted men and women throughout the United States, Canada, and
Europe, ‘with whom they cultivated a sense of affection and often
After establishing relationships with their ‘marks’ by communicating
with them online and on the phone, Ogolor and his co-conspirators
proceeded to ask for money for hospital fees, travel expenses, ‘customs
expenses,’ ‘golf import taxes,’ or investment opportunities.
Often after the victims handed over the money, the crooks claimed even
more funds were needed ‘to release the package’ or ‘to pay customs
expenses’ on money or gold.
In some instances, women sold their personal property, including houses and cars, to raise money for the criminals.
Another component of the sprawling scam was business email hacking,
where Ogolor and his cohorts fraudulently obtained checks from
businesses with the help of their unsuspecting victims.
According to prosecutors, as part of the plot Ogolor opened several bank
accounts in his name and in the names of sham businesses. The romance
fraud victims wired and deposited their money and money from counterfeit
or fraudulently obtained checks into Ogolor’s accounts.