MINNEAPOLIS — A Twin Cities man will spend years in prison and must pay back more than a million dollars for swindling senior citizens in "an online romance fraud scheme," according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Solomon Eghosa Wilfred, 43, pleaded guilty in June to one count of mail fraud, and was sentenced Thursday to three years in prison.
The Coon Rapids resident must also pay back $1,356,995 in restitution for his part in an organized scheme that involved other criminals.
A joint investigation by the FBI and the U.S. Postal Service found Wilfred targeted elders online and would foster romantic relationships, sometimes posing as "a senior U.S. diplomat or military official," according to court documents.
Investigators said Wilfred would then tell his victims that he's in a bind and needs a lot of money, often employing a co-conspirator to back up his story. The victims were then urged to send funds via mail, money order or other routes.
Court documents state Wilfred used at least six post office boxes in Minnesota to collect more than 400 packages from victims, and then would disseminate some of the funds across his criminal network.
Wilfred will also have three years of supervised release after serving out his sentence.
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