CNN Ten people in Oklahoma, New York, California and Texas have been charged with conspiring to launder money that they obtained in a romance scam targeting women nationwide, federal officials say. Three of the suspects remain at large. The suspects -- most of them Nigerian -- would start an online relationship with women and tell them they were US citizens working overseas, according to a federal indictment released Wednesday by the US District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma. They targeted women on dating websites and social media platforms, and created dating profiles using fake names, locations and images, the indictment says.
10 suspects in four states defrauded women in a romance scam and laundered the money, feds say
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The Nigerians made the woman believe she was dating pop star Bruno Mars, to commit the offence, also known as catfishing scam. Catfishing is the act of creating a fictional persona online as a means of luring someone into a relationship. This becomes a cyber crime when it is for the purpose of ripping them off either through taking out loans on their name or stealing their credit card data. In a report by Mail Online, Azuonwu, 39, a resident of Houston, appeared in court on Tuesday accused of impersonating Mars on Instagram as part of the scam to swindle the victim out of her savings.
Two Nigerians Impersonate Bruno Mars, Scam A 63-Year-Old Texas Woman
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Earlier this year, 10 people located around the United States were arrested and charged in an organized money laundering scheme as they were attempting to wash the cash that they illegally obtained. What was strange about the scheme is how the money was obtained in the first place. It wasn't through the trading or trafficking of illegal goods or drugs, but rather cash that was sent by unsuspecting women who thought they were building relationships with the scammers. This type of thing happens more often than you might think.