A New Jersey man has been charged for a $2.1 million online dating scam that federal prosecutors say tricked victims into sending money to non-existent U.S. soldiers stationed overseas, NJ.com reports. Rubbin Sarpong, 35, was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with the scheme he and his co-conspirators allegedly ran since 2016. Officials said the plot involved setting up fake online dating profiles posing as U.S. military members, starting romantic relationships as their personas, and asking for money from the victims—supposedly to ship back gold bars the “soldiers” claimed they found while stationed in Syria. There were no gold bars, and those involved in the plot kept the money.
According to the criminal complaint, one woman committed suicide after wiring $93,710 to the scammers after she believed she would be helping ship back $12 million worth of gold to the U.S. Most of the money the victim wired was put in an account controlled by Sarpong, prosecutors say. He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.