ST. LOUIS – A Texas man appeared in federal court to admit his role in a months-long romance scam against a St. Louis woman.
According to the office of U.S. Attorney Sayler Fleming, Rotimi Oladimeji pleaded guilty on Monday to two counts of mail fraud, two counts of wire fraud, and one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud.
As part of his plea, Oladimeji said he obtained or attempted to obtain more than $1.2 million from the woman.
Oladimeji admitted that in May 2019, someone in Nigeria created a fake LinkedIn profile of a veterinarian who was a Belgian national and living in St. Louis. The profile used a picture of a German man.
In Aug. 2019, a St. Louis woman created an online dating profile. Months later, Oladimeji and others began communicating with the woman on that dating app, using the phony Belgian identity. Oladimeji and his cohorts repeatedly made plans to meet the victim, but never did. In one instance, they stood her up while she waited at the Missouri Botanical Garden.
Oladimeji, posing as the Belgian, told the victim he was taking a business trip to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. After the fake arrival date, Oladimeiji texted the St. Louis woman and said he needed $15,000 for help with “an urgent business issue.”
Between Oct. 2019 and March 2020, Oladimeiji instructed her to wire money from Missouri to banks in Saudi Arabia and to send cashier’s checks through FedEx to a residence in Richardson, Texas, where his cohorts were located. He led the victim to believe he would not be allowed to leave Dubai unless she paid.
The victim sent Oladimeiji and the other scammers approximately $931,000 via wire services, and $314,000 via checks.
Oladimeiji admitted to recruiting Olumide Akrinmade and Adewale Adesanya to help him with the scam, in exchange for a share of the money.
Oladimeiji told the court that the majority of the money went to other scammers in Nigeria and the United States.
Homeland Security agents apprehended Oladimeiji at an Atlanta airport on Feb. 3, 2021, after he returned from a trip to Nigeria. Investigators inspected Oladimeiji’s phones and found text messages to and from the victim.
Oladimeiji will be sentenced on March 23, 2023. He faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each count. He will also be ordered to repay the money he scammed from the victim and could face deportation.
His co-defendant, Adesanya, pleaded guilty in April 2022 and was sentenced this past September to four years in federal prison. He was ordered to repay $1.5 million in restitution for his numerous frauds over the years.
Meanwhile, Akrinmade’s case is still pending. He’s pleaded not guilty to four counts of mail fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud.