South Jersey Romance Scam Artist Swindled $1.4M From Victims
A Camden County man who fleeced his victims out of over $1.4 million has been sentenced to six years in state prison.
Christopher Akeme, 39, of Sicklerville appeared in court for sentencing on Friday, Sept. 15. In addition to his time behind bars, he must also pay over $1.4 million in restitution.
Akeme admitted to the scheme in May. He pleaded guilty to second-degree financial facilitation of criminal activity, according to the Attorney General's Office.
“This defendant shamelessly exploited vulnerable victims in the United States and abroad using a variety of scams,” said Attorney General Matthew Platkin.
Scammer reached victims in Germany, California
Authorities said that Akeme managed to trick three separate victims into giving him hundreds of thousands of dollars each between 2017 and 2020. He instructed the victims to put the money into his accounts in the United States and he then transferred the money to other accounts in Nigeria.
In the most extreme case, Akeme catfished a California woman into giving him $926,414.
She emptied her retirement savings and investments to support a person who never existed. The victim believed she was in a long-distance relationship with her false paramour and was helping them pay for an overseas development project and medical expenses.
A second victim living in California fell victim to an inheritance scam.
They sent money with the intention of releasing unclaimed funds in a bank account in Spain that they believed their friend had inherited, officials said. It cost the victim $116,630.
Akeme also managed to trick a victim in Germany.
The European victim was fooled by a real-estate scam that began as a romance scam on social media, according to the OAG. They thought they were investing in a condo in New Jersey but instead sent Akeme $491,645 for nothing in return.