Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Stories of Romance Scam Victims: Ronayerin Ogolor

Ronayerin Ogolor has pled guilty to causing $900,000 in losses to at least 13 Romance Scam victims.  Ogolor, a 50 year old naturalized citizen from Nigeria, lived in Kansas City, Missouri when he committed the various fraud schemes.  After "falling in love" via ChristianMingle, Facebook, or Hangout.com, Ogolor would begin to string his victims on to being lured out of their finances, whether or not they were wealthy.

Ogolor maintained multiple bank accounts.  Two US Bank accounts in his own name (ending in 8969 and 1885), a Wells Fargo account ending in 6281 in the name "Ronayerin Ogolor Merchandise", and a Wells Fargo account ending in 2141 in the name Ovrichona - a business involved in "overseas auto sales." A Bank of America account ending in 6776 in the name "American Quarter Horse Association eBanking", as well as BofA accounts ending in 4957 and 1988 in the name "Ogolor Merchandise." A Bank Midwest acount in the name "Rons Solutions" which he claimed was a Beauty Salon originally, but told a Bank Midwest employee bought American goods from cars to diapers and resold them in Nigeria.

He paid for his online dating sites via "AlcudaBill"

We thought it would be illustrative to share some of his schemes found in the Criminal Complaint.

Victim 1 - Alabama
Met "Charles Zolt" on ChristianMingle.com.  He was an "oil rig worker".  Zolt convinced Victim 1 to sell her car and wire him $9,500.

Victim 2 - Ohio
Met "Bradley Majestic" on ChristianMingle.com.  He was also an "oil rig worker" who claimed to be from Belgium. Victim 2 sent him over $30,000 in paymets starting with $3,500 in March 2015.

Victim 3 - Indiana
Met "Lawrence Garrison" after receiving a Facebook friend request.  Garrison also was an oil rig worker.  He claimed to have been born in Denmark. He sent a photo of a $4 million check, claiming he would pay her back when he got home by cashing that check.  He needed help getting funding to tow a $500,000 drill head to Ohio.  Victim 3 "invested" $450,000 overall in the scam.

Victim 4 - Washington
Met Ogolor in a variety of aliases.  Repeatedly tricked into wiring money to help meet fees associated with money transfers of up to $1 million USD.

Victim 5 - Minnesota
Met "David Stasiak" on Facebook.  Stasiak claimed to be a general contractor for Baytex Energy who worked on an oil rig.  She sent money to pay taxes on a large amount of gold that Stasiak was bringing into the country.  She "paid taxes" moving the gold through Qatar and Turkey, eventually being told that a final $32,000 had to be paid to a customs officer at Hartfield Airport in Atlanta to get the gold delivered.  She did not send the final payment, but was out several thousand dollars by this time.

Victim 6 - Arizona
Met "Samantha Brown" from Australia.  Claimed she had received a $250,000 inheritance.  She deposited the money into Victim 6's account and sent $60,000 to Haxzades Auto, LLC; $80,000 to Ronnie Leon Hammers; and $70,000 to Wells Fargo account 2141 (Ronayerin Ogolor dba Ovrichona Company.)  The $250,000 was the proceeds of a BEC scam.

Victim 7 - Texas
Met "James Philip" a US Army General in Afghanistan and agreed to help him smuggle two cases with $5 million in cash back to the USA.  Victim 7 sent three wires totaling $68,000 to pay various fees to help get these cases through customs.

Victim 8 - Florida
Met "Gary Ross Rodney" on Facebook.  Communicated via Skype and Email.  Claimed he had a UK bank account worth $500,000 to pay taxes to get the funds to the United States.  Victim 8 SOLD HER HOUSE to get Rodney the needed money, wiring $56,000 and $65,000 to Ogolor Merchandise's Bank of America account (4957).

Victim 9 - Illinois
Met "Manuel Rigby" on Facebook.  Rigby worked on an oil rig.  Claimed he had been detained in Atlanta, Georgia for traveling with too much cash.    Sent a total of $60,000 to get her boyfriend out of prison.

Victim 10 - Texas
met "Jonathan Lester" on either ChristianMingle or EHarmony.  Lester worked on an oil rig!  (Are  you surprised?)  Lester claimed to be from France.  He was importing a box with $2.75 million in cash, but needed to pay some fees to get it through Customs.  Via Hangouts, Victim 10 was instructed to send a $24,500 cashier's check to Ogolor Merchandise's BofA account 4957.  Altogether, she sent "Lester" $126,400.

Victim 11 - Florida
Met "Linda Stout" on Hangout.com.  Ogolor Sent him a $6,500 check and asked him to keep $1500 and send the other $5,000 to the Ogolor Merchandise BofA account.  (The check was fraudulent.)

Victim 12 - Italy
Met "Alexander McFelix" on Facebook.  McFelix was a U.S. Soldier serving in Afghanistan.  Wired money to help McFelix pay fees to retire early.  Over $13,600 in three payments to three different bank accounts controlled by Ogolor.

Victim 13 - California
Met "Robert Williams" on Facebook.  Williams worked for an oil company in Saudi Arabia, 'so his salary was paid in cash.'  Now needed help paying fees to bring his box of $2.6 million in cash through U.S. Customs.  Victim 13 sent more than $345,000 to pay various fees to import the money -- all to accounts controlled by Ogolor and associates, including a Citibank account in the name of Owurachanel LLC, an account in the name BJs Global Sales, and an account in the name Vinpep Services, LLC, and an account in the name TLA Technology & Consulting LLC.

For the dramatic conclusion ...

On October 19, 2018, the FBI learned that Ogolor had purchased a plane ticket to Frankfurt, Germany. He was arrested in the Kansas City International airport as he waited to board his plane.

Ogolor pled guilty on October 23, 2019, and signed a statement agreeing that he understood he may get 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, three years supervised release, an order to pay restitution to his victims, and possible deportation from the country after release.

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