June 16, 2024

Nicole Dibba, a lady from Atlanta-area, involved in an internet love fraud case was granted an exemption from jail time on Tuesday. The scam bluffed victims out of an enormous $820,449. Weeks prior to her sentencing, Nicole took an unauthorized trip on a Disney cruise with her kids, an act that violated her bail conditions. However, despite the breach of terms, a federal judge reconsidered her incarceration, sentencing her to three years of supervised release and time served instead. The standard sentencing convention suggested 21 to 27 months in jail.

Online romance scam netted $1.7 million from two dozen victims: 'Their lives have been devastated'

According to Russell T. Ippolito, Assistant U.S. Attorney, one local woman incurred a total loss of over $400,000 – her entire life’s savings. Dibba, a 37-year-old mother of two, on the whole, conformed to her bail conditions in the five years of her pretrial supervision, except for the cruise she took.

When Dibba’s case was presented at the U.S. District Court, she confessed her wrongdoing and promised to be a better mother in the future. Despite her remorse, Judge Lawrence Vilardo was doubtful about her sincerity. While considering alternatives to jail time, the judge sentenced Dibba to three months of home detention with monitoring equipment.

In regard to her work, Dibba works non-stop as a home health aide, tending to a regular client. She was also instructed to pay restitution, which amounted to $789,741. While she might not pay the full amount, she needs to pay 10% of her monthly gross income toward it.

Erie County DA launches online complaint form to report scams

The District Attorney’s Office encourages citizens to report any fraudulent actions or scams. The office’s Special Investigations and Prosecutions Bureau is entrusted with the duty to investigate and prosecute fraud, identity theft, and other financial crime cases.

Nicole collaborated with the authorities by handing over her phone, which helped establish ties to another person involved in the internet scam, Tochukwu Okerulu. Okerulu was sentenced to time served after spending 18 months in jail before his plea.

To contact Patrick Lakamp, send an email to plakamp@buffnews.com.

### Frequently Asked Questions:

1. ### What was Nicole Dibba’s role in the scam?
Nicole played a minor part in the scam. Her role was essentially that of a ‘money mule’. She opened a bank account which was used to launder the scammed money. The account saw major deposits from various victims of the online love scam.

2. ### What led Nicole Dibba to get involved in the scam?
At the time of her crime, Nicole was an unemployed single mother. Her ex-husband’s deportation left her with the sole responsibility of providing for her family. These circumstances led her to participate in the crime as a result of attempting to provide for herself and her family.

3. ### How did Nicole Dibba help in the investigation?
Nicole cooperated fully with the investigators, which included providing her phone for examination. This helped the investigators identify and successfully prosecute another person higher in the scam’s hierarchy, Tochukwu Okerulu.