A San Francisco man pleaded guilty Friday to claiming to be the son of the president of the Congo and defrauding victims out of $1.6 million as part of the scheme, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California announced Monday.
Blessed Marvelous Herve, 41, pleaded guilty in federal court in San Francisco Friday to wire fraud, admitting that he falsely told people that his father was the president of the Congo and that he was a multibillionaire, the office said in a statement announcing the plea.
Herve is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 22 before U.S. District Judge Jon S. Tigar and faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Herve lied to his victims, saying the U.S. government had seized more than $43 million of his money. He then asked them for financial assistance. Herve signed promissory notes agreeing to pay one of the scam’s victims $1.5 million in bonus in exchange for financial support so he could go after the “seized” $43 million.
As part of the scheme, Herve told his victims that he was in federal prison from 2009 to 2012. During that span, he solicited funds from a second victim, whom he promised to pay back in addition to a $1 million bonus and a luxury car after his federal case was finished and his seized funds were released, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. Around October 2012, Herve received $47,000 from the second victim after falsely claiming to need the funds to pay the IRS for a judgment. Herve told the victim that this $47,000 would free up the $43 million that was seized by the government.
Herve was charged and arrested on April 24 and has been in federal custody since then. As part of his plea agreement, the San Francisco man agreed to pay restitution to his victims totaling about $1.7 million.