New Jersey man caught in online dating scam
A man from South Jersey pleaded guilty to scamming 40 women out of over $1 million through an online dating scam.
According to NJ.com, the charges were conspiring to commit wire fraud, conspiring to commit money laundering and tax evasion.
Along with accomplices, the man, Rubbin Sarpong, a Ghanaian national living legally in New Jersey, would set up fake dating profiles on sites like Match.com, Plenty of Fish, and Ourtime.com. From those sites, the scammers would contact the victims, attempting to strike up a fake romantic relationship.
After advancing the relationships, the conspirators would ask for money, ostensibly to pay to ship gold bars to the US, with the promise of repayment once the gold bars arrived. Of course, there were no gold bars.
According to the US Attorney’s office, “Although the stories the co-conspirators told the victims varied, most often the co-conspirators claimed to be members of the United States military stationed in Syria who received, recovered, or were awarded gold bars.” There were also fictitious intermediaries through which the victims would transfer the money. Authorities say at least 40 victims were scammed.
Authorities say that Sarpong posted pictures of himself on social media with expensive jewelry, luxury cars and cash. It is believed he scammed $1.76 million from the victims. Of course, he didn’t pay income tax on the earnings leading to the tax evasion charges.
He is scheduled to be sentenced in March. Each conspiracy charge carries the possibility of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. The tax evasion charge has a maximum five year prison term and another $250,000 fine. He also has to make restitution to his victims.
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Doyle. Any opinions expressed are Bill Doyle's own.