Florence Mwende, a Kenyan woman, has been hit with a hefty Ksh119 million ($957,000) fine by a US court after she was found guilty of scamming victims with a false promise of love. In a recent ruling, Massachusetts judge Allison Burroughs sentenced Mwende to 44 months in prison and an additional 30 months of supervised release. The sentence also includes a forfeiture of Ksh43.5 million ($350,000) and a Lexus sports SUV, as well as the money in her accounts.
According to the US Department of Justice (DoJ), Mwende lured victims with the promise of love and then convinced them to send her money through multiple accounts she opened using fake passports and multiple aliases. The Kenyan con artist, who was working in collaboration with accomplices, further targeted Americans who received government financial aid during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Court documents showed that Mwende was a minimal player in the scheme, acting on the instructions of her boyfriend, Mark Okuo, who pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud in March 2022. His sentence hearing is scheduled for March 29.
Mwende, a graduate of the Technical University of Kenya, travelled to the US in 2018 on a tourist visa and later acquired a work permit visa. The recent fine and prison sentence serve as a warning to all those who engage in fraudulent activities that justice will eventually catch up with them.