The US Department of Justice has announced the indictment of at least 35 Nigerians in Texas for different romance scams and wire fraud.
According to the Department of Justice, the indicted persons were accused of conducting romance schemes with the sole aim of defrauding older adult Americans.
The investigation that led to the arrest came as a result of an FBI led multi-year inquiry into wide-ranging criminal enterprises operating out of Texas. The accused persons were found to be part of a complex network that defrauded at least $17 million from more than 100 adult US citizens nationwide.
The DOJ says they usually prey on older adults who may be widows or divorced and take advantage of the situation. They usually start by posing fake profiles on popular US dating sites, before proceeding to ensure they earn the victims trust. However, it’s all part of the longer scheme which usually ended up with them coughing up a sob story that eventually needs money to solve.
The Department of Justice also revealed that romance scams is more popular than people think, stating that at least 20,000 people were scammed of up to $600m in 2020 as a result. However, they lamented that the embarrassing nature of the scam scares people away from opening up or reporting same to the authorities.