FBI: Romance scams targeting elderly victims looking for love in all the wrong places

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HOUSTON, Texas (KIAH) The FBI is warning senior citizens about scams targeting those in search of love. Maryland man, David Annor, 28, pleaded guilty this week to conspiracy to commit money laundering. He was involved in a romance conspiracy scheme to induce the elderly, isolated victims, in order to get them to send money to people he was co-conspiring with. He and his co-conspirators got money and laundered payments from victims. 

The guilty plea was announced by Acting United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Jonathan F. Lenzner; Acting Special Agent in Charge Robert E. Bornstein of the Federal Bureau of Investigation – Washington Field Office (FBI); Postal Inspector in Charge Daniel Adame of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service – Washington Division (USPIS); and Special Agent in Charge Matthew R. Stohler of the United States Secret Service – Washington Field Office (USSS).

How he did it…

According to the FBI recordHis guilty plea detailed that between May 2017 and October 2020, Annor took part in a romance scheme in which his brother, Lesley Annor, and his co-conspirator targeted senior victims online, typically through social media, dating websites, e-mail, and online applications.  Once the conspiracy members convinced the victims to trust them, the conspiracy members would instruct the victims to send money to bank accounts and physical addresses linked to Annor and conspiracy members. Conspirators often received 10 percent of the victim’s money and sent the remainder of the money to co-conspirators located in Ghana.

Annor has been in custody since his arrest on November 16, 2020 and faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release for money laundering. U.S. District Judge George J. Hazel has scheduled sentencing for October 29, 2021 at 2 p.m.

What to do if you know romance scam victims

The Department of Justice runs the National Elder Fraud Hotline at 1-833-FRAUD-11 (1-833-372-8311), has an interactive tool for elders who have been financially exploited to help determine to which agency they should report their incident, and also a senior scam alert website

Victims are encouraged to file a complaint online with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at this website or by calling 1-800-225-5324. 

Elder fraud complaints may be filed with the FTC at www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov or at 877-FTC-HELP.

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