ALBANY – An Albany man received time served Thursday and three years of probation after admitting earlier to participating in a romance scam, U.S. Attorney’s officials said.
His time served amounts to five days, but he is also responsible for paying back more than $445,000 taken in the scam, prosecutors said.
William Y. Asiedu, 27, pleaded guilty in June to one count of wire fraud conspiracy in the scam, prosecutors said.
He admitted he agreed to receive proceeds from the scheme and then to forward proceeds on to co-conspirators in Ghana, prosecutors said. In exchange, he received a five to 10 percent cut.
The scam he admitted to extended from October 2018 to May 2019 and centered on two victims, one from Switzerland and the other from Arizona, prosecutors said.
Asiedu’s co-conspirators falsely led each victim to believe she was sending money for the benefit of a man she met through an online dating website, prosecutors said. Asiedu’s co-conspirators actually posed as the fake paramours and then fraudulently induced the victims to send money to Asiedu, prosecutors said.
The Arizona victim lost $338,000, while the Switzerland victim lost $105,000, records indicate.
Senior U.S. District Judge Thomas J. McAvoy Thursday also ordered the forfeiture of just under $9,800 in cash seized and ordered Asiedu to perform 100 hours of community service, officials said.
The case was investigated by the FBI and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Barnett.