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Utah Woman Sentenced to 6-Year Imprisonment In Romance Scam, Ordered to Pay $6.4M To Victims

The FBI is urging everybody to verify their online relationships and report malicious activity on its official website.
Cover Image Source: Romance scams | Pexels | Photo by Michelle Leman
Cover Image Source: Romance scams | Pexels | Photo by Michelle Leman

Nelly Idowu of Provo, Utah was sentenced to six-year imprisonment followed by three years supervised release after the federal jury found her guilty of one count of money laundering and two counts of money laundering in an online scam. Idowu is one of the four defendants sentenced in a two-year scheme that drained over $6 million out of victims' pockets, per the United States Attorney's Office, Utah. 

The evidence presented at the trial revealed that Idowu, 39, had participated in an online romance scheme. She allegedly created online dating profiles to befriend and then trick the victims. The scammers led these victims to believe that they were interacting with genuine people. The victims were specifically targeted as most of these victims were widowed or divorced women over 65 years old.

Pexels | Photo by
Pexels | Photo by

It was later found that Idowu's personal and business accounts got more than $1 million from 2017 to 2019, and that additional amount was received by Idowu's coconspirators. Each of the defendants was ordered by the court to pay $6,444,787.16 in restitution to the victims.  Emmanuel Osaigbovo Adesotu, Nnamdi Joel Chukwu, and Julius Omene Fredrick were also previously convicted guilty to a money laundering conspiracy. Adesotu was sentenced to 36 months’ imprisonment, Fredrick, to a term of 46 months’ imprisonment, and Chukwu was sentenced to a term of 12 months’ imprisonment. 

"Idowu and her co-conspirators preyed on unsuspecting and vulnerable victims,” said US Attorney Trina A. Higgins of the District of Utah. “The defendants gained their trust and convinced them to send large sums of money, leaving many of the victims in financial despair. My office, along with our law enforcement partners, will continue to prosecute these online scams, and seek justice for the victims," Higgins continued.

"Scammers like Idowu know exactly how to prey on their victims’ vulnerabilities, and sadly, the financial and emotional consequences can be devastating," said Shohini Sinha, Special Agent in Charge of the Salt Lake City FBI.


"The FBI is committed to investigating these perpetrators and continuously works to raise awareness about romance scams. Think twice before you share personal information online, be wary of online suitors who are quick to establish a relationship and gain your trust, and don’t send money to someone you’ve never met. If you think you’re a victim of a romance scam, file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at," Sinha continued. 

Computer hacker silhouette. Green binary code background | Getty Images | Photo by Bill Hilton
Getty Images | Photo by Bill Hilton

Romance scams are especially dangerous as they affect one's emotional state. The scammers milk victims out of billions of dollars in romance scams every year. You need to be aware of everything that is going on to prevent yourself from getting defrauded.  The FBI is urging everybody to verify their online relationships and report malicious activity on its website

Additionally, if you ever feel that you have information on these romance scams. help is available at the National Elder Fraud Hotline 833-FRAUD-11 or 833-372-8311.