Richmond woman appears in federal court accused of scamming online dates out of thousands of dollars

A Richmond woman accused of scamming her online dates out of tens of thousands of dollars appeared in federal court for the first time on Tuesday. 

38-year-old Akua Dufie of Richmond pleaded not guilty before a U.S. Magistrate judge Tuesday. 

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Two weeks ago, a federal grand jury indicted Dufie on seven charges related to money laundering and fraud.

Investigators say Dufie worked with a co-conspirator, 39-year-old Kenneth Anim, a dual citizen from Ghana. to create sham businesses. 

Both are accused of acting as money mules in a nationwide fraud scheme.

The two allegedly opened multiple bank accounts to collect tens of thousands of dollars from people they’d apparently scammed online through dating sites. Authorities believe the various mail and wire fraud schemes lasted several years from 2014 to 2019. 

If convicted, Dufie and Anim face up to 20 years in federal prison and could pay up to a $500,000 fine.  

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Dufie was asked to surrender her passport in court Tuesday. She’ll now be supervised be pre-trial services and is not allowed to have any weapons or have any contact with any potential victims. 

Her next court date is set for May 8.