Faked romantic interest in victims to extract money.
Krist Koranteng, 33
Krist Koranteng, 33, of Burtonsville and Laurel, pleaded guilty Wednesday to conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud and to money laundering related to a scheme in which he and others faked a romantic interest in victims so the victims would send money to Koranteng’s business.
The total losses to the victims, which included elderly individuals, in Canada, Texas and West Virginia totaled more than $1.1 million, according to Koranteng’s plea agreement.
Koranteng also pleaded guilty to violating his supervised release for a previous federal drug conviction for distributing heroin, according to the agreement.
Between September 2012 and February 2014, Koranteng and others searched online dating websites to initiate romantic relationships with men and women, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s office in Baltimore.
The conspirators invented stories about sick family members who needed money, created fake hospital bills and created a scheme to ship and store fake gold that required money, according to the release.
Victims were persuaded to mail checks to Kristsons LLC, a corporation that Koranteng created and controlled based on McKnew Road in Burtonsville, or to wire money into bank accounts held in the name of that corporation, which Koranteng also controlled.
As part of his plea agreement, Koranteng will be required to pay restitution of $1,171,657, which represents the full amount of the victims’ losses, according to the release. The plea agreement also was signed by Koranteng’s attorney, John B. McKenna.
Koranteng remains detained pending sentencing, which is scheduled for July 2.