GREENBELT, Md (WJZ) — A man from Laurel has been sentenced to over 19 years in federal prison for defrauding victims of millions of dollars through an internet dating scam.

A U.S. district judge sentenced 42-year-old Victor Oyewumi Oloyede to 234 months (19 years, 6 months) in prison, followed by four years of supervised release, for conspiracies to commit wire fraud and money laundering, and for aggravated identity theft arising from a scheme to defraud vulnerable victims of millions of dollars.

Benson Ogundele, 58, of Laurel, Emmanuel Popoola, Tunde Popoola, age 34, from Bowie, and his sister, Mojisola Oluwakemi Tin Popoola and Moji T. Popoola, 42, of Laurel, were also convicted for their roles in the fraud scheme.

The U.S. State’s Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland says from January 2011 to May 18, 2015, “members of the conspiracy searched online dating websites to initiate romantic relationships with vulnerable male and female individuals. They phoned, emailed, texted and used internet chat messenger services to form romantic relationships with the victims, who lived in Maryland and around the country.”

According to the States’s Attorney’s Office, witnesses testified that members of the conspiracy used false stories and promises to convince the victims to provide money to the conspirators. The witnesses say that the conspirators used fake hospital bills, plane trips to visit the victims, problems with overseas businesses and foreign taxes to convince them to send money.

Oloyede and other conspirators opened fake bank accounts in order to receive millions of dollars from the victims.The payments from victims ranged from $1,720 to $50,000.

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