Jury returns conviction in online dating fraud conspiracy

Ponca City Now - August 19, 2019 1:58 pm

OKLAHOMA CITY – Nnamdi Franklin Ojimba, 35, has been convicted by a jury of conspiring to commit wire fraud based on his involvement in an online romance scam, U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Downing announced Monday.

According to an indictment filed on Oct. 17, 2017, Ojimba and others defrauded individuals by fostering what appeared to be a genuine romantic relationship online and then convincing those individuals to send them money.  Ojimba and others used the persona “Edward Peter Duffey” and claimed to be a successful financial adviser or affiliated with charitable causes.  He purported to have inside financial information, such as knowledge that the investment firm used by the victim was under investigation or was financially unsound.  As a result of these fraudulent claims, victims wired money to conspirators for what they believed would be investments.  In reality, Ojimba and his conspirators kept the money for themselves.

Two of Ojimba’s conspirators, Ken Ejimofor Ezeah and Akunna Baiyina Ejiofor, have already been convicted and sentenced.  Ezeah, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy, was sentenced to 11 years in prison on Oct. 6, 2017, and ordered to pay $4,678,302.79 in restitution to 10 victims.  Ejiofor was convicted by a jury on March 30, 2017, and sentenced to seven years in prison on Sept. 28, 2017.

In October 2018, a jury was unable to reach a verdict on the conspiracy count.  The United States re-tried the conspiracy case against Ojimba beginning on Aug. 12, 2019, before a different jury.  On Aug. 16, he was found guilty.  Chief United States District Judge Timothy D. DeGiusti ordered that Ojimba be detained in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service pending further proceedings.

At sentencing, Ojimba faces up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000.  Sentencing will take place in approximately 90 days.

This conviction is the result of an investigation by the FBI Oklahoma City Division.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy W. Ogilvie.


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