(Reuters) - A Maryland man is facing federal fraud, money laundering, conspiracy and other charges for allegedly bilking more than $1.1 million from elderly men and women through online dating sites.
Krist Koranteng, 32, who has addresses in Burtonsville and Laurel, Maryland, is currently in jail awaiting a detention hearing on Monday at the U.S. District Court in Greenbelt.
An 11-count indictment, handed down by a federal grand jury, alleges that between September 2012 and February 2014, Koranteng and others searched online dating websites such as Chemistry.com and Match.com “to initiate romantic relationships with elderly men and women, in order to obtain money from those individuals.”
Koranteng and the others, after contacting the alleged victims online, used false stories and promises to persuade the them to send money, prosecutors said.
The indictment names Rune Anderson, Michael Draper, Mark Smith and Samuel Nana Kofi as co-conspirators with Koranteng, who was arraigned on Thursday. The others have not been arraigned.
Marcia Murphy, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland, said the investigation into the involvement of the alleged co-conspirators was still underway.
“No one else has been charged,” Murphy said. “I can’t comment beyond that.”
At the time of Koranteng’s arrest, officials said they seized more than $250,000 from various accounts allegedly connected to Koranteng and the others named in the indictment.
If convicted, Koranteng faces a maximum of 20 years in prison for each of the eight counts of mail and wire fraud, and a maximum of 10 years for each of the three counts of money laundering.
Reporting by Jeffrey B. Roth in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania; Editing by Frank McGurty and Eric Beech