BOSTON – A Boston man was sentenced today in federal court in Boston for his role in online fraud schemes.
Macpherson Osemwegie, 32, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Denise J. Casper to 32 months in prison and two years of supervised release. Osemwegie was also ordered to pay restitution of $686,264. On Sept. 1, 2021, Osemwegie pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud.
Osemwegie agreed with others to participate in a series of romance and other online scams designed to trick victims into sending money to accounts that Osemwegie and others controlled. 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.
To carry out the schemes, Osemwegie and his co-conspirators used fake foreign passports in others’ names to open bank accounts, and in turn directed the victims to send money to those accounts. Osemwegie’s role was to open bank accounts into which victim funds were transferred and quickly withdraw the funds. In less than three years, Osemwegie opened at least 16 bank accounts at seven banks using four different fraudulent passports. From June 2017 through February 2020, Osemwegie and his co-conspirators stole almost $690,000 from nearly 100 victims, many of whom were elderly and, in some instances, were deprived of their life savings.
United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins; Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division; Ketty Larco-Ward, Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service; and Jonathan Davidson, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service made the announcement. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kristen Kearney of Rollins’ Securities, Financial & Cyber Fraud Unit prosecuted the case.