ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) - A Virginia man has been sentenced to prison for leading senior citizens across the U.S. to send him money in what was described as a romance fraud scheme, a federal prosecutor said Friday.
Abdul Rasak Garuba, 41, of Woodbridge was given 21 months, said Jessica Aber, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, in a news release.
Court documents say that beginning in February 2016, Garuba received large wire transfers from senior citizens who were led to believe they were sending money at the request of and for the benefit of romantic partners they met through online dating sites. In fact, victims had been directed to send money to Garuba by people in Nigeria who were operating a "romance fraud" scheme, the news release said.
One victim reported the fraud documents. Garuba told his bank that he was doing business with the victims, bought cars for them and had the paperwork to prove it. However, the bank closed his account when he couldn’t produce any records, according to prosecutors.
Prosecutors said Garuba transferred approximately 15% of the nearly $2.9 million gained from the victims. He used the money to buy cars which he shipped to scheme leaders in Nigeria.