Former Marshall student pleads guilty to money laundering

West Virginia

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CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK)—One of the eight individuals indicted in connection with a large fraud and money laundering scheme in April of 2021 pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Court documents say that 25-year-old Romello Thorpe, of Washington D.C. was involved with others (including Kenneth Emeni, John Nassy, Kenneth Ogudu, Oluwagbenga Harrison, and Ouluwabamishe Awolesi) in a Huntington money laundering scheme from September 2019 to January 2020 while he was a student at Marshall University.

The scheme involved the co-conspirators creating online false personas and contacting victims via mail, text messaging or online dating and social media. They would convince their victims that they were in a romantic relationship, friendship or business relationship with fake personas. They then persuaded their victims to send money for various fraudulent reasons.

Mr. Thorpe admitted that he would let victims transfer money into his bank account even though he knew the funds came from unlawful activity. He also admitted that he kept some of the money for himself and then forwarded some of the money to his co-conspirators through wire transfers or the money transfer app Zelle. He said he received money from at least six different victims.

Mr. Thorpe faces up to 20 years in prison. He will be sentenced on November 22, 2021, and he will pay over $69,000 in restitution.

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