- Associated Press - Friday, November 20, 2020

BOSTON (AP) - A man who participated in a number of online financial scams to take advantage of people during the coronavirus pandemic has pleaded guilty, federal prosecutors say.

Nosayamen Iyalekhue, 33, a citizen of Nigeria, pleaded guilty in federal court in Boston on Thursday to wire fraud.

Iyalekhue and an accomplice were arrested in June. The accomplice, Esogie Osawaru, 27, pleaded guilty on Nov. 12.

They participated in a series of romance, pandemic unemployment insurance, and other online scams designed to defraud victims by convincing them to send money to bank accounts they controlled, the U.S. attorney’s office in Boston said in a statement.

The defendants used false foreign passports in the names of others, but with their photos, to open several bank accounts, then directed the victims to send money to these accounts. They then quickly withdrew the victims’ money.

Iyalekhue faces up to 20 years in prison at sentencing on March 4. He is also subject to deportation proceedings, prosecutors said.

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