Feds: Nine accused in West Virginia of online fraud scheme

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Nine men have been accused in West Virginia of participating in romance and other online scams that defrauded at least 200 people of more than $2.5 million, prosecutors said.

Grand jury indictments in federal court in Charleston charged the men with mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering and receipt of stolen property. All nine men have been apprehended, prosecutors said in a news release Tuesday.

Two of the defendants lived in Huntington and Martinsburg, and two others lived in Washington, D.C. The others were from Columbus and Westerville, Ohio; Stone Mountain, Georgia; Beltsville, Maryland; and Omaha, Nebraska, the statement said. Six of the men were Nigerian citizens and two others were from Ghana.

According to the indictments, victims were coerced into sending money to various bank accounts controlled by the defendants from 2016 to 2020. Many of the victims were elderly, the statement said.

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