Fola Alabi, a 52-year-old resident of Richmond, Texas, admitted in federal court his role in a multi-state confidence scheme targeting senior citizens seeking online romance.
Standing before the federal court in Providence, Rhode Island, Alabi pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy and money laundering for his role in an online romance scam that saw him creating companies for the sole intention of laundering money swindled from the senior citizens of whom he had taken advantage.
In a statement released by the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the District of Rhode Island, United States Attorney Zachary A. Cunha described how the scheme worked:
To carry out these schemes, a member of the conspiracy befriended unsuspecting seniors online, often posing as a General in the U.S. military serving overseas. The conspirator feigned a personal, and sometimes romantic, interest in his victims, and convinced them to send substantial sums of money, usually in the form of bank checks or cash, to addresses and companies in Texas that were controlled by Alabi. Alabi received the money and either deposited or directed that it be deposited into one of several bank accounts that he controlled. He then quickly withdrew or transferred the funds to other accounts.
All told, Alabi has admitted to laundering more than $1.6 million from the victims of his fraud.
In Rhode Island, one of his victims (who, like many of his victims, was a widow) was convinced to provide one of Alabi’s companies with $60,000. She had been approached by one of Alabi’s co-conspirators, who, while claiming to be a four-star general named Miller, said he was attempting to transport his personal belongings from where he was stationed overseas back to the United States but needed her help. All the Rhode Island widow would have to do, the conman explained, was temporarily cover the expenses by writing a check to Full Circle Import Exports, a company created by Alabi.
Alabi, who accepted a plea agreement, will now be forced to turn over “assets derived from his criminal conduct, to include his Texas residence and $31,773.22 contained in a bank account.”
The United States Postal Inspection Service, FBI, United States Secret Service, and Homeland Security Investigations all participated in the case.
Alabi will be sentenced at the end of April.