01/25/2023 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 01/26/2023 09:45
PROVIDENCE - A Houston, TX, woman who admitted to a federal judge in Providence, RI, that she collected and banked more than $1.26 million of the more than $2.5 million she and co-conspirators bilked from the unsuspecting victims of internet-based "romance scams" that they executed, was sentenced today to 78 months in federal prison, announced United States Attorney Zachary A. Cunha.
Dominique Golden, 31, previously admitted that, as part of the scam, she obtained fraudulent identification using various aliases; created business in her own name as well as in the names of her aliases; and opened multiple bank accounts using both her aliases and businesses, all for the purpose of receiving and depositing "romance scam" victim funds. From approximately February 4, 2018, through December 12, 2018, she collected and deposited a total of $1,263,822.54 into the bank accounts she controlled.
To carry out these schemes, members of the conspiracy contacted victims via the internet and app-based communication platforms, cultivated relationships of trust, convinced the victims that money was needed for an urgent purpose, and then directed the victims to send money via mail or wire transfer to various persons, including Golden. Golden admitted that she was aware that other members of the conspiracy contacted and developed relationships with the victims for the sole purpose of perpetrating the scam.
Golden admitted that, collectively, members of the conspiracy defrauded victims of approximately $2,545,041 during the period that Golden was involved in the conspiracy.
Golden pleaded guilty on September 1, 2022, to one count each of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud. She was sentenced today by U.S. District Court Chief Judge John J. McConnell, Jr., to 78 months in federal prison to be followed by three years of federal supervised release, and to pay restitution in the amount of $1,263,822.54.
"Fraud that preys on the emotions and vulnerabilities of vulnerable victims - especially the elderly - to cheat them out of their hard-earned savings is unconscionable," said U.S. Attorney Cunha. "With today's sentence, Ms. Golden will deservedly trade her stolen luxuries for a prison jumpsuit, and I am pleased that we have the chance to return at least some of the proceeds of her fraud to her many victims."
Additionally, Golden will forfeit all interest in any fraud-related assets traceable or derived from her criminal conduct in this matter that were seized from her residence and vehicles during execution of search warrants in September 2109, to include a 2018 Bentley Bentayga; a 2017 Mercedes E-Class; $11,731 seized from her home and from the Bentley, 13 money orders totaling $6,000 in money orders, a gold oyster perpetual women's Rolex watch; a gold oyster perpetual men's Rolex watch; a gold and diamond Rolex bezel; a 16" gold rope chain with a diamond coin pendant; a 24" gold rope chain; and three firearms. GOLDEN also agreed to forfeit a sum of $1,263,822.54, to be offset by the forfeited assets, and a judgment against her in that amount will be entered.
Chief Judge McConnell ordered that the 78-month term of incarceration imposed today is to commence today. That 78-month term will be served concurrently with a separate 54-month federal sentence that Golden began serving in March 2020 in the Northern District of Georgia, having been convicted for conspiracy to commit money laundering in an unrelated fraud conspiracy.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Denise M. Barton, with the assistance of Assistant United States Attorney John McAdams.
The matter was investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, with the assistance of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Department of Labor-Office of Inspector General, and U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration in Atlanta.