Nigerian man who stole money from lonely American women, gets 27 years in prison


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Olayinka Ilumsa Sunmola, of Lagos, who defrauded hundreds of lonely U.S. women online was sentenced, Thursday, to 27 years in federal prison and ordered to repay $1.7 million.

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Sunmola bilked dozens of women in Missouri and Illinois alone, driving some to bankruptcy and at least one to the brink of suicide, prosecutors have said.

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Sunmola and others would pretend to be members of the U.S. military stationed overseas or businessmen working there, some of whom were widowers with children.

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They used pictures of men in uniform they found online, sometimes lifting pictures of dead servicemen from memorial websites.mThey wooed their “soul mates” via emails, instant messages, flowers, candy and other gifts. 

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Some of the women bought wedding gowns or began to use the fake last names that Sunmola and the others were using. The scammers then began to concoct emergencies that grew ever larger until their victims’ assets were gone, prosecutors said.

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While “systematically destroying” the women, Sunmola used their money for lavish parties, 2 Range Rovers, 4 properties in South Africa and a $363,000 home in Nigeria, prosecutors said.

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After two days of a jury trial in U.S. District Court in East St. Louis, Sunmola pleaded guilty to 8 felonies, including mail fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy, and interstate extortion.

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