Nigerian man Kingsley Otuya 34, living in Austin has been sentenced to 11 years in federal prison for his role in money laundering schemes and romance schemes in Austin that netted more than $1 million.
One of Kingsley Otuya’s victims killed herself after losing hundreds of thousands of dollars and being “emotionally devastated” by the romance scam, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas said Tuesday.
Beginning in 2016, Otuya used fake passports to open nine bank accounts under false names, according to an affidavit. He used the fake personas to strike up conversations with victims from around the world before asking them to transfer money to him for loans.
Multiple victims faced serious financial hardship as a result of the schemes. According to court documents, Otuya used an online dating profile to target at least one of the victims.
Otuya, pleaded guilty in April 2018 to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. A federal judge sentenced him to 135 months in prison and three years of supervised release, according to the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Texas.
“This case brutally illustrates how fraud schemes hurt victims not only financially but also emotionally,” said U.S. Attorney John F. Bash. “We will remain steadfast in our efforts to protect Americans from transnational criminal conspiracies.”
Acting as a “catcher,” Otuya would quickly withdraw fraudulently obtained funds from bank accounts where the victims had deposited money, and would then send the money to his co-conspirators before victims tried to recover their funds.
Authorities said he used fake passports to open nine different bank accounts under false names in Austin and often withdrew $10,000 or less to avoid bank reporting requirements.
He has been ordered to pay more than $966,000 and be placed under supervised release for three years after he is released.