Man Faces Charges After Allegedly Stealing $345K From Elderly Washington Widower in Catfish Scheme


A federal grand jury has indicted a Texas man with stealing more than $345,000 from an elderly Spokane man in a fraud scheme, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Washington announced on Monday.

David J. Osinski, 57, a resident of Arlington, was charged with six counts of conspiracy, wire fraud and money laundering, the U.S. Attorney's Office said in a news release.

Osinski made his first court appearance in Texas on Aug. 9 and was released on his own recognizance.

According to the release, Osinski created a bank account in Dallas "to receive fraudulently obtained funds from the victim." Osinski and his co-conspirators took on an online persona of a woman named "Kathleen" to trick the Spokane man, a recent widower, into an online romantic relationship, the district attorney's office alleged.

Posing as Kathleen, Osinski and his counterparts told the man that they were an international art dealer attempting to finalize a transaction in Dubai, according to the indictment. They convinced the man to wire $189,000 to an account in Dubai and an additional $156,640 to an account in the Dallas area controlled by Osinski, who immediately withdrew the money and transferred it to a separate account he used for cryptocurrency purchases, the district attorney's office said.

"Internet scams, often perpetrated outside of the state, are a recurring problem which cause significant harm and hardship to residents here in Eastern Washington," U.S. Attorney Vanessa R. Waldref said. "Unfortunately, fraudsters and scammers frequently target elderly members of our community. This case is an important part of our efforts to seek elder justice and fight elder fraud in Eastern Washington."

Attorney Wes Ball, who is  representing Osinski in Texas, said his client was himself defrauded as part of a "convoluted" scheme that may involve multiple victims. As far as he knows, Osinski did not have contact with anyone in Spokane, Ball said.

Osinski could face up to 30 years in prison on the conspiracy charges, 20 years on the wire fraud charges and 10 years on the money laundering charges.