Texas man pleads guilty to $1.6 million romance scam

PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island (AP) — A Texas man has pleaded guilty to his role in a romantic scam in which women from around the country were scammed totaling about $1.6 million by someone who often pretended to be a US Army general.

Fola Alabi, 52, also known as Folaemi Alabi, last week pleaded guilty to conspiracy and money laundering charges in U.S. District Court in Rhode Island, federal prosecutors said in a statement Monday.

Someone would often pose as a general stationed abroad, strike up friendships with women online, and then gradually gain their trust by feigning romantic or personal interest, prosecutors said.

The women, often in their 70s and 80s, widowed or divorced, were persuaded to send cash or checks to addresses and companies controlled by Alabie, who lived in Richmond, Texas, near Houston.

The money was transferred to bank accounts he also controlled and then quickly withdrawn or transferred, prosecutors said.

Federal agents who searched Alaby’s mobile phone found photos and videos of cash and check packages he received from some of the victims, prosecutors said.

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