Minnesota man indicted in $1.6M romance scam involving crypto exchanges

WCCO digital headlines: Morning of Dec. 22, 2022

WCCO digital headlines: Morning of Dec. 22, 2022


DENVER — A 37-year-old Minnesota man has been federally indicted in a $1.6 million cryptocurrency scam that targeted a Colorado woman who was looking for romance.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office of Colorado, Adetomiwa Seun Akindele has been indicted on 10 counts of wire fraud and 11 counts of money laundering.

The indictment states that in early 2018 Akindele posed as an Italian-American businessman named Frank Labato while using a dating website. There, he allegedly made contact with a widow from Colorado.

Online communications turned into phone calls, the indictment says, in which Akindele fed the woman phony details about his work background. He also sent her fake photos to sell his online persona.

After a month or two of this, Akindele told the woman that he, or rather Frank Labato, was involved in a financial crisis and needed money to fix it. He convinced the widow to open a cryptocurrency account, into which she wired more than $1.6 million.

The indictment says Akindele went to work laundering that money before converting it into U.S. dollars and putting it into his own accounts. After that, he gave the widow three fake promissory notes to reassure her she would be repaid.

The Denver division of the FBI conducted the investigation.

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