Nana Kwabena Amuah, a 31-year-old citizen of Ghana living in the United States, received a seven-year jail term for his involvement in a plot to defraud the City of Lexington, Kentucky, of around $4 million.
U.S. District Judge Karen Caldwell imposed the sentence and mandated that Amuah reimburse the victims of his scheme for over $4.7 million.
The United States Attorney’s Office Eastern District of Kentucky claims that Amuah started engaging in illegal activity in 2021 when he and co-defendant Shimea McDonald opened bank accounts using fictitious names and shell corporations in order to accept money from numerous victims of fraud.
McDonald received fictitious identification documents from Amuah, which were based on the data of actual persons. As soon as money started to appear in these accounts—after she had taken some for herself—Amuah alerted McDonald and told her to deliver the money to him or transfer it over.
Along with her other accomplices, Amuah then transferred the money to other accomplices who either helped with more transfers or started the victim-targeting scams.
In August 2022, there was a noteworthy occurrence when someone pretended to be a charitable organization. The offenders corresponded via email with a representative of the City of Lexington and convinced them to transfer $3,905,837.05 that was due to the nonprofit to a Gretson Company LLC account at Truist Bank.
McDonald had earlier asked Truist Bank for eight counter checks to be filled using unlawfully acquired City wires while going by the name “K.N.” McDonald then tried to transfer some of these monies into another account at a different financial institution in the name of Gretson Company LLC, using the same fraudulent identity.
Thankfully, all of the money that was fraudulently transferred was recovered by both Truist Bank and the City of Lexington. Approximately seventy more victims were identified in relation to this scheme, according to court filings, sixty of them suffered damages surpassing $4.6 million.
Due to her involvement in the crime, McDonald has been found guilty and will be sentenced on December 14, 2023. Jean Mejia-Garcia, the third defendant, is in the arraignment process after he tried to deposit part of the City’s funds.
Amuah has to complete eighty-five percent of his jail sentence under federal law. The U.S. Probation Office will oversee him for three years after his release.
The FBI and the Lexington Police carried out the investigation, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Kate Dieruf handled the case on behalf of the country.
Amuah is not the only Ghanaian detained in the US this year on suspicion of fraud-related charges. Mona Faiz Montrage, a well-known Instagram influencer who goes by the handle Hajia 4Real, entered a not guilty plea in May 2023 to allegations that she used lonely hearts schemes to defraud elderly, unmarried Americans out of almost $2 million.