CAMDEN, New Jersey -- The FBI arrested a man responsible for creating dating profiles that portrayed U.S. military personnel who were stationed overseas and looking for romance.
These troops were too good to be true.
They were made up using stolen identities by a New Jersey man, Rubbin Sarpong, who is now charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, federal prosecutors in New Jersey said.
"Unfortunately, we live in an era where every contact we have with a stranger online must be viewed through the lens of skepticism," said FBI Special Agent-in-Charge Gregory Ehrie. "Fraudsters are constantly searching for ways to separate people from their money in order to reap a profit while putting forth little effort."
Since January 2016, 35-year-old Sarpong allegedly fooled more than 30 victims who collectively sent him more than $2 million, according to a criminal complaint.
Sarpong is accused of telling them he needed the money to ship gold bars to the United States, prosecutors said, but really kept it for himself and co-conspirators in Ghana.
Sarpong was scheduled to make an initial appearance before a federal judge Wednesday afternoon.
Although the stories varied, most often Sarpong and the conspirators claimed to be military personnel stationed in Syria who received, recovered, or were awarded gold bars. The conspirators told many victims that their money would be returned once the gold bars were received in the United States.
Sarpong posted photographs of himself on social media posing with large amounts of cash, high-end cars, and expensive jewelry.
Man accused of scamming $2 million by 'wooing women with words of love' online