Man accused of scamming $6.5 million in online romance

ATLANTA — A Georgia man is accused of taking part in an online romance scam used to swindle a Virginia woman out of more than $6.5 million.

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Nnamdi Marcellus MgBodile, 35, and others also tried to scam a Georgia company out of nearly $350,000 using a spoof email scheme, the U.S. attorney’s office in Atlanta said in a news release Wednesday.

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MgBodile, of Marietta, has been indicted on 20 counts of bank fraud, money laundering, and conspiracy to commit bank fraud. A lawyer listed in online court records didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

MgBodile, posing as a man named Jimmy Deere, met a Virginia woman with a sizable trust online in late November 2017 and she soon came to believe they were in a romantic relationship as they exchanged emails over the next month. He told her he was excited to start a life with her but needed to resolve an investment opportunity first.

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He said he was a fund manager and was about to get a big commission but needed her to act as his “representative partner” and to have the money put in her account to get around a conflict of interest, prosecutors said. He and others sent her emails in January and February 2018 asking that she pay fees and taxes to release the money.

In response to those requests, she made about 25 wire transfers into different bank accounts, at least $1.1 million of it going into false business accounts controlled by MgBodile, prosecutors said. He then transferred the money to other accounts he controlled or to accounts in China and the Middle East.

“This is a stark reminder that users of online dating websites should be aware of such scams and exercise extreme caution if asked for money by anyone online or over the phone,” U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak said in the news release.

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He and others also contacted a Georgia company posing as a legitimate company that had provided financing to the company. They said in emails that the victim company needed to wire the legitimate financing company a quarterly payment. But none of the emails were actually sent by the legitimate financing company.