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Irving Weekly Title

Denton County, Texas News

Denton County Woman Sentenced to 10 Years for Defrauding Elderly Victims in Romance Scams

Ijeoma Okoro

An Aubrey woman, 33-year-old Ijeoma Okoro, has been sentenced to 10 years in prison and ordered to pay over $2.2 million in restitution for defrauding elderly victims in romance schemes. U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Leigha Simonton announced the sentence on Monday.

Okoro was indicted in September 2021 and went to trial in December 2023. Following a seven-day trial and 10 hours of deliberation, a jury found her guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. Chief U.S. District Judge David Godbey sentenced her to 10 years on each count, to be served concurrently.

During the trial, evidence revealed that Okoro and her accomplices assumed fake identities and targeted individuals on dating sites like and Zoosk, particularly focusing on elderly or widowed individuals. They would build relationships with the victims, promising long-term commitment before fabricating elaborate stories to solicit financial assistance.

Typically, the fraudsters claimed to face urgent financial needs, such as being stranded overseas for work without access to funds or experiencing sudden family emergencies. Victims, trusting in the false promises of repayment, sent thousands of dollars to bank accounts opened by Okoro and her co-conspirators in the Northern District of Texas. Okoro then distributed the ill-gotten gains among the group.

During the sentencing hearing, Chief Judge Godbey applied a sentencing enhancement due to Okoro's obstruction of justice. He found that she had committed perjury by denying any involvement in the fraudulent activities during her trial testimony.

In addition to Okoro, four other defendants have been convicted for their roles in the scheme: David Animashaun, Oluwalobamise Michael Moses, Emanuel Stanley Orji, and Frederick Orji, each receiving federal prison sentences ranging from 24 to 37 months. Chukwuemeka Orji, another indicted co-defendant, remains a fugitive.

The investigation was led by the IRS – Criminal Investigation, with support from the FBI’s Frisco Field Office, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Labor - Office of the Inspector General.

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