BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – A Western New York resident fell prey to an Internet romance scheme, sending hundreds of thousands of dollars to a person she believed to be “Marvin Roecker”, who she met on the online dating site MillionaireMatch,com.
As it turns out, the Roecker she was speaking to did not exist- his picture on the site was actually a real estate agent from Texas, whose name was not Marvin Roecker.
Instead, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott Allen, who handled the case, the online relationship was a fraud devised by Adams Amen, 32, a citizen of Ghana, who resides in Detroit, Michigan, and his co-conspirators, also Ghanaian nationals.
“After successfully building rapport, victims were asked to wire money to assist with fictitious business ventures, family emergencies, or inheritances,” a statement said Thursday. “Victims did so, wiring funds to accounts in Ghana, the United Kingdom, and to accounts in the United States controlled by Ghanaian nationals, including Amen.”
On March 2, 2016, the WNY victim wired $65,000 to Amen’s TD Bank account, then on March 21, following a request by “Marvin Roecker,” the victim wired another $180,000 to a bank account located in the United Kingdom, which was controlled by a co-conspirator.
Text messages between the defendant and co-defendant Jason Osei Bonsu demonstrate that both were participants in the scheme to defraud the WNY victim. For instance, Amen and Bonsu discussed quickly withdrawing the money she sent to prevent the bank from becoming suspicious
Other victims were also targeted. Between March 28, 2015, and June 15, 2017, victims wired $881,656 directly to accounts controlled by the defendant. One victim deposited $27,990 cash directly into Amen’s account. Victims lost a total of $909,646.
Amen pleaded guilty Thursday to conspiracy to commit wire fraud in Buffalo federal court, and faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine when he is sentenced May 23. Authorities believe MillionaireMatch.com did nothing to contribute to the fraud.