A Burtonsville man has been indicted on federal fraud, conspiracy and money laundering charges in connection with a scheme to swindle money from elderly people through dating websites.
Prosecutors believe the enterprise took in more than $1 million.
Prosecutors said Krist Koranteng, 32, and several co-conspirators found several male and female elderly victims on websites such as Chemistry.com and Match.com between September 2012 and February 2014, according to an indictment.
The conspirators used emails, text messages and phone calls to establish romantic relationships with the victims. Then, they invented stories about investing in fake gold, sick family members in need of money, phony hospital bills and plane trips to visit the victims, so the victims would send them money, according to the indictment.
Sometimes, victims sent money to Koranteng’s bank accounts via a wire transfer. Other times, victims sent checks to a limited-liability corporation registered to Koranteng’s Burtonsville apartment, the indictment says.
Koranteng, who also kept an apartment in Laurel, faces one count of conspiracy, two counts of mail fraud and five counts of wire fraud, each of which carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison. He also faces up to 10 years in prison for each of three counts of money laundering, according to a statement from the office of U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein.
Koranteng’s attorney, William C. Brennan, could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday afternoon.