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Federal Internet and Identity Fraud Crimes Reduced

Client arrested for an internet dating site scheme had a wise change of heart during negotiations, avoided prison and deportation

Challenge: Our client was an immigrant from the Republic of Ghana who had taken part in an internet fraud scheme. He worked with several other men and women to create and maintain a dating/romance website on which they built fake profiles of people seeking relationships. Posing as these false romantic partners, the actors could prey on the vulnerable site visitors and solicit funds from them – sometimes accumulating hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The client was arrested with his accomplices in the Southern District of New York and faced federal criminal charges and more than 10 years in prison. He also faced deportation.

Solution: Federal charges are extremely serious, and often mandate long prison sentences if convicted. But the complexities of the case and the charges did not deter the D’Emilia Law team. Case negotiations lasted for more than a year. Each of the defendants faced multiple years in prison and a majority of the evidence against them was voluminous and irrefutable.

Over the course of the trial, we wrote extensive motions and collaborated with federal prosecutors to ensure our client would be treated fairly. As time went by, and after multiple, separate meetings with our client and the prosecutors, we created a new strategy and advised him to work in tandem with the federal officials. We demonstrated that our client was not the main actor of the scheme and we advised him to provide evidence further supporting that point when questioned by the prosecutor and FBI agents.

Result: Our client’s testimony was so valuable that the judge saw him in a different light than when the case began. He was the only defendant who did not ultimately serve any time in prison. The deportation charges were also dropped and he was sentenced to probation.

This case was a rare combination of internet law, fraud, cybersecurity, immigration and financial crimes, exemplifying how complex criminal defense can become. Undeterred, we advised our client in a way that ultimately served his best interests and kept him out of federal prison, and in the country.