U.K.-Based Fraudster Sentenced to Nearly Six Years in Prison for Working in Multi-Million-Dollar Lottery Scam
|U.S. Attorney’s Office November 23, 2009|
LOS ANGELES—A man who participated in a London-based telemarketing scheme that defrauded elderly victims in the United States and the United Kingdom with false promises of lottery winnings was sentenced today to 70 months in federal prison.
Oloruntade Olumuyiwa, 39, was sentenced by United States District Judge John F. Walter, who also ordered the defendant to pay $1.4 million in restitution to victims in the United States.
Olumuyiwa pleaded guilty in August to wire fraud, admitting that he took more than $3.2 million from approximately 50 victims from across the United States. The scheme started in early 2004 and continued into 2007.
Olumuyiwa participated in a “lottery scam” in which victims were “cold-called” and told they had won a lottery, but they had to pay large sums of money before receiving their winnings. Many of the victims were defrauded more than once—first when they were asked to send money for taxes, for example; and later when they were asked to set up an offshore account or pay legal fees. None of the victims ever received the promised winnings.
The scheme involved telemarketers who contacted some victims through Internet dating websites, pretending to enter into romantic relationships with them, and then inducing the victims to send money by falsely claiming to need money for various reasons, including expenses associated with immigration.
Among other things, Olumuyiwa controlled “mail drops” where victims were instructed to send money. Participants in the lottery scheme instructed victims to wire money to bank accounts held in the name of Markus Heukelom or to sent money to Markus Heukelom at an address in the United Kingdom. Markus Heukelom is believed to be a Dutch citizen whose identity was appropriated by Olumuyiwa in furtherance of the scheme.
Olumuyiwa, who has a prior fraud-related conviction in the United Kingdom, was arrested by the Greater Manchester Police in June 2007. He was extradited to the United States earlier this year.
The investigation into Olumuyiwa is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Greater Manchester Police and the United States Postal Inspection Service.