Utah woman guilty in online dating scam, taking over $6 million

Oct 24, 2023, 2:57 PM

FILE: hand on laptop keyboard...

FILE: hand on laptop keyboard

SALT LAKE CITY – A Utah woman was convicted in an online romance scam that cost her victims over $6 million on Thursday, Oct. 19.

Nelly Idowu, 39, of Provo, was found guilty of one count of money laundering conspiracy and two counts of money laundering.

According to court documents, Idowu created fake online dating profiles to befriend and initiate romantic relationships with people online from 2017 to 2019. The victims were primarily single women over the age of 65 who were led to believe the profile they were messaging had an urgent financial need.

Some of the needs Idowu used included helping family members with emergency medical costs, offering unique investment opportunities, or helping a U.S. military member stranded overseas. None of these claims were real, but victims sent money to Idowu to assist with what they believed were financial needs.

Idowu, and others involved with Idowu, then sent a significant amount of the victim funds overseas to accounts in Nigeria and China according to court documents.

At trial, the United States presented evidence that Idowu’s personal and business accounts received more than $1 million from 2017 to 2019, and that additional amounts were received by Idowu’s coconspirators.

Victims testified in court that they had sent money to online romance partners which ended up being a scam.

Idowu is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 30, 2024, in Salt Lake City.

Others involved with Idowu include codefendants Emmanuel Osaigbovo Adesotu, Nnamdi Joel Chukwu, and Julius Omene Fredrick, who were each previously convicted by guilty plea to a money laundering conspiracy.

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Utah woman guilty in online dating scam, taking over $6 million