Two online scammers who fleeced elderly victims out of $5 million were arrested in Maryland back on November 16.
David Annor, 27, and his 22-year-old brother Lesley are charged with money laundering.
Law enforcement officials said the pair targeted elderly people with a catfish scheme where they used fake identities to pose a romantic interests. The oldest victim was 83.
The brothers worked with a group of co-conspirators who made contact with the victims and after convincing the victims that they were in a romantic relationship, requested money from the victims for various purposes, often assuring the victims that they would be repaid. The co-conspirators provided the victims with details on where to send the payments, which were accounts controlled by the Annors or another co-conspirator, or their mailing address, where victims would mail cashier’s checks. The eight victims described in the criminal complaint each allegedly lost between $17,500 and $201,000.
The scammers found their victims online using social media or dating websites. They communicated with them via apps, email, and text messages. Once the brothers had their hands on the money, they sent it to Ghana.
U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur said “The deceit used to steal from these victims was heartless. The U.S. Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners are committed to bringing to justice fraudsters who prey upon the elderly. We will continue our outreach efforts to make the public aware of scams and frauds targeting elderly victims and encourage anyone who believes they may be a victim to contact the Elder Fraud Hotline at 833-FRAUD-11 (833-372-8311).”
To learn how to spot an online romance scam, click here.