OMAHA, Neb. — A former Marshall men’s soccer defender who is now playing professionally has pleaded not guilty to federal charges accusing him of using an online romance scam to swindle people out of more than $214,000.
Abdul Illal Osumanu, 24, of Ghana, entered the pleas remotely Tuesday in a West Virginia federal court to two counts of mail fraud, two counts of wire fraud, money laundering conspiracy and receipt of stolen money, the Omaha World-Herald reported.
Osumanu is a starting defender for the Union Omaha professional soccer team, but has not participated in practices or games since he was arrested May 27. He starred at Marshall from 2017-19 before signing with Union Omaha.
Investigators have said Osumanu and another man created a fake online profile in 2017, pretending to be a woman and convincing two people to send money.
The 6-foot defender was one of Marshall’s top players in the 2019 season, earning Conference USA First Team honors while winning the league’s Defensive Player of the Week award on Oct. 7 and Oct. 14.
In addition to the on-field accolades, Osamanu was also recognized as a United Soccer Coaches Scholar All-American in 2019.
During his three-year career with Marshall, Osamanu started 58 of 59 games while registering three goals and one assist — all coming in the 2018 season.
Osamanu came to Marshall prior to the 2017 season after transferring from the University of Charleston.