Two Ghanaian men in the United States, Fred Asante and Lord Aning, have both pleaded guilty to charges of money laundering and wire fraud.
The two are part of a sakawa syndicate which commits several acts of online fraud. According to prosecutors in the U.S, their criminal activities netted them over $35m.
The duo were part of a Ghanaian based crime syndicate which scammed lots of people including elderly ladies through the notorious romance fraud schemes.
U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said, “Fred Asante admitted today to laundering money from victims of various fraud schemes, including cruel scams targeting elderly online daters searching for companionship.
“Compounding the disappointment of learning their potential soulmate was indeed nonexistent, Mr Asante’s victims later found they were also targets of a Ghana-based criminal enterprise netting over $35 million in illegal proceeds.”
Fred was arrested on February 17th last year in Virginia. He has now pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit money laundering.
He faces up to 20 years in prison, with the exact sentence to be determined at a sentencing hearing to be held in May.
Authorities reportedly recovered over $647,488 from Asante and seized $323,646 from his bank accounts.
A 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLE AMG was also seied by the government. His co-conspiator, Aning, also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and will be sentenced on February 28th.