A Nigerian, Olayinka Ilumsa Sunmola, has been sentenced to 27 years in jail in the United States of America, USA.
Olayinka ran a ring of international romance scam from 2007 to 2014 from his base in South Africa.
The court also ordered him to repay $1.7 million dollars.
Judge David Herndon of a US district Court in East St. Louis heard how Olayinka swindled unsuspecting women.
It was gathered that he paraded himself as an American soldier stationed overseas.
At other times, he and his gang said they were engineers working on a large government contract in South Africa.
They cultivated romantic relationships with dozens of women using pictures of men they found online.
Prosecutors said Olayinka’s activities drove some to bankruptcy and at least one to the brink of suicide.
The 33-year-old showered the women with poetry, cards, flowers, stuffed animals and chocolates until he has successfully entrapped them.
Once his target is entrapped, Olayinka began to manufacture lies aimed a swindling his victims of large sums of money.
He was indicted on charges of mail fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy, and interstate extortion.
After two days of a jury trial, he pleaded guilty to 8 felonies, including mail fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy, and interstate extortion.
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In his ruling, Judge Herndon said the charges preferred against Olayinka sounded benign to wreck women and fracture their families.
“But then, his charm turned to bullying, name calling, extortion, unthinkable demands, and threats.
“Thoughts of paradise turned into thoughts of hell and, for some, thoughts of suicide.
“The most devastating crime one could ever imagine without laying hands or even eyes on another human being.”
When Olayinka completes his 27-year prison term, he will be deported to Nigeria.