ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Charles Obije, 41, and Ijeoma Chanthavong, 36, were sentenced on Monday for their role in stealing money from victims in a romance fraud scheme.
According to court documents, Obije — a Nigerian native — began using fictitious identities in 2016 to contact victims through email, social media, and online dating services throughout the United States -- including Minnesota -- with the sole purpose of seducing and defrauding them.
Chanthavong, Obije's sister-in-law and co-conspirator, helped to launder the money defrauded from victims. Obije and Chanthavong continued luring and defrauding victims this way until 2019. Together, they defrauded victims approximately $800,000, said court documents.
Obije was sentenced to 14 months in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit international money laundering on Sept. 13, 2023. Obije was also ordered to paly $356,671 in restitution.
Chanthavong also pleaded guilty to commit international money laundering and was sentenced to three years of probation and ordered to pay $148,500 in restitution on April 19, 2023.
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