On Tuesday A Kenyan woman was sentenced to seven years in jail in the United States for running a romance scam targeting individuals in the US.
Florence Mwende Musau, 36 years old was ordered to pay Ksh.119M ($957,000) in return for her role in romance scams and other online frauds made to deceive victims into sending money to bank accounts she and other 5 controlled.
Florence was charged with conspiracy to commit fraud and bank fraud.
Court documents reveal that , the group crated fabricated profiles on online dating or social media websites, collectively swindling their victims over Ksh.480million.
Mwende pleaded guilty in 2021 at Boston federal court and was on Tuesday sentenced to 44 months in prison and 30 months of supervised release.
According to the Massachusetts Attorney office, Florence and her accomplices created fake profiles on online dating websites to gain the trust of potential victims and then direct those victims to transfer money under false pretense.
The Operation Worked
It was further revealed that Musau, used faked passports, in the name of numerous aliases to open bank accounts in and around Boston to receive the proceeds of the romance scam.
She then executed large cash withdrawals from those accounts, generally structured in amounts less than Ksh.1.2 million in an act to avoid detection and currency transaction reporting requirements.
Florence also received the proceeds of fraudulent state pandemic unemployment assistance benefits in the name of victims.
“As part of the scheme , Mwende used at least three different aliases to open nearly 10 fraudulent bank accounts and receive approximately $1M in fraud proceeds,” reads court documents.
Florence was also directed to forfeit approximately Ksh.44million$(450,000) and her Lexus SUV.