35-year-old Ghanaian arrested in $2.1m romance fraud in USA
A 35-year-old Ghanaian Rubbin Sarpong, 35 has been arrested for his
involvement in $2.1m Romance fraud in the United States of America
The suspect who faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted is reported to have in concert with others scammed over 30 victims identified so far as 27 sent more than $823,000 to him mainly by wiring money to his bank accounts. He transferred more than $454,000 to co-conspirators in Ghana.
One of his victims is reported to have committed suicide after sending more than $93,000, according to investigators.
Sarpong who flaunts dollar bills at the least opportunity was on Wednesday charged with a single count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and will have a first court appearance on Wednesday afternoon.
Sarpong and his co-conspirators, several of whom live in Ghana, ran the scheme starting in January 2016 until this week.
They set up phony profiles on various online dating sites posing as U.S. military personnel and would pretend to forge romantic relationships with their victims, authorities said.
In one of the scenarios, the scammers would then ask for money to ship gold bars they had recovered while stationed in Syria back to the United States, authorities said.
There were no gold bars and the scammers kept the money, authorities said.
The victims, who met the scammers via sites including Plenty of Fish, Ourtime.com and Match.com, communicated with the scammers via phone and email.
The criminal complaint references a victim who committed suicide after wiring $93,710.
The scammer in this case told her he was a soldier serving in Syria and that he was awarded a box of gold bars worth more than $12 million. What followed was an elaborate story about how she could help get the gold to the U.S. by paying various fees and taxes. She was told her money would be returned once the gold arrived.