Florence Mwende Musau, a 36-year-old Kenyan diaspora lady, is staring at a 30-year jail term sentence after she pleaded guilty for perpetuating romance scams targeting individuals in the United States.
Florence Musau, a resident of Canton City in N.E Ohio, pleaded guilty on Monday, June 21, to conspiracy to commit wire and bank fraud and is scheduled to be sentenced on October 14, 2021.
The U.S. District Court heard Florence Mwende Musau, and five others were arrested in connection with their roles regarding fraudulent online scams which collectively defrauded their victims of more than Ksh 431 million ($4 million).
They were arrested and subsequently charged with the same on March 25, 2021.
According to the charging documents before Judge Allison D. Burroughs, Florence Mwende Musau, participated in a series of romance scams designed to defraud victims into sending money to bank accounts controlled by her and others.
Romance scams have been on the rise due to covid and occur when a criminal adopts a fake online identity to gain a victim’s affection and trust.
Florence Mwende Musau, is alleged to have used fake identities on dating apps and social media sites to create an illusion of a romantic or close companionship/relationship.
She then manipulated and stole from her victims whom she had targeted.
According to the Prosecutor, Florence Mwende Musau would carry out the schemes, using fake passports in the names of numerous aliases, to open bank accounts in and around Boston.
The accounts were used to collect and launder the proceeds of the romance scams.
The charge sheet added, “She then executed large cash withdrawals from the accounts, often multiple times on a single day and generally structured in amounts less than $10,000, in an effort to evade detection and currency transaction reporting requirements.”
Wire Bank fraud Law: Up to 30-yrs
In the United States, a suspect found guilty of conspiracy to commit wire and bank fraud, can be slapped with a sentence of up to 30 years in prison, five years of supervised release, a fine of up to Ksh 108 million ($1 million) or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater, restitution, and forfeiture.
Such sentences are imposed by a Federal District court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Florence Musau and her co-accused are reported to have committed the crime – romance fraud – no less than 5 times between 2018 and 2021.