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Albany Man Pleads Guilty to Wire Fraud Conspiracy in Connection with Romance Scams
ALBANY, NEW YORK – William Y. Asiedu, age 27, of Albany, pled guilty today to wire fraud conspiracy, arising from his receipt of nearly $450,000 from the victims of romance scams.
The announcement was made by United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith and Thomas F. Relford, Special Agent in Charge of the Albany Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
In pleading guilty, Asiedu admitted that he agreed to receive the proceeds of a fraudulent scheme, and to distribute the proceeds to his co-conspirators in Ghana, in exchange for a 5 to 10 percent share for himself.
Between October 2018 and May 2019, two victims, one from Arizona and the other from Switzerland, sent a total of $445,333 to bank accounts standing in the name of Community Youth Development Council Incorporated, an entity that Asiedu incorporated in New York. Asiedu’s co-conspirators falsely led each victim to believe that she was sending the money for the benefit of a man she met through an online dating web site. In fact, Asiedu’s co-conspirators posed as these fake lovers, and fraudulently induced the victims to send money to Asiedu.
Asiedu faces up to 20 years in prison, and up to 3 years of supervised release, when Senior United States District Judge Thomas J. McAvoy sentences him on October 15, 2020. Additionally, Asiedu has agreed to pay $445,333 in restitution, and to forfeit currency worth more than $10,000. A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular statute the defendant is charged with violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other factors.
This case was investigated by the FBI and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Barnett.