Richmond, TX

Dual citizen from Richmond arrested for acting as a money mule and launderer in romance scams

Covering Katy

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FBI.gov

HOUSTON – A 38-year-old man who holds citizenship in the United States and Ghana has been arrested following the return of an indictment in a nationwide romance fraud scheme according to U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.

Authorities took Kenneth Anim into custody on Monday. Anim had previously resided in the Houston and Richmond areas.

A federal grand jury returned the five-count indictment on July 6.

According to the charges, from 2014 to 2019, Anim and his co-conspirator created individual sham businesses. They allegedly operated as money mules in various mail and wire fraud schemes including internet fraud and romance scams.

The indictment further alleges Anim also opened and maintained bank accounts to collect proceeds from the schemes and to send the money to himself, his co-conspirators, and overseas.

If convicted, Anim faces up to 20 years in federal prison and a possible $500,000 maximum fine.

FBI conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Belinda Beek and Grace Murphy are prosecuting the case.

An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.

The FBI says Romance scams occur when a criminal adopts a fake online identity to gain a victim’s affection and trust. The scammer then uses the illusion of a romantic or close relationship to manipulate and/or steal from the victim. The criminals who carry out romance scams are experts at what they do and will seem genuine, caring, and believable.

The FBI also says con artists are present on most dating and social media sites. The scammer’s intention is to establish a relationship as quickly as possible, endear himself to the victim, and gain trust. Scammers may propose marriage and make plans to meet in person, but that will never happen. Eventually, they will ask for money.

If someone you meet online needs your bank account information to deposit money, they are most likely using your account to carry out other theft and fraud schemes.

FBI Tips for Avoiding Romance Scams:

  • Be careful what you post and make public online. Scammers can use details shared on social media and dating sites to better understand and target you.
  • Research the person’s photo and profile using online searches to see if the image, name, or details have been used elsewhere.
  • Go slowly and ask lots of questions.
  • Beware if the individual seems too perfect or quickly asks you to leave a dating service or social media site to communicate directly.
  • Beware if the individual attempts to isolate you from friends and family or requests inappropriate photos or financial information that could later be used to extort you.
  • Beware if the individual promises to meet in person but then always comes up with an excuse why he or she can’t. If you haven’t met the person after a few months, for whatever reason, you have good reason to be suspicious.
  • Never send money to anyone you have only communicated with online or by phone.

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