Looking for love or a payday? NJ man charged in romance scheme

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A New Jersey man was arrested Wednesday for allegedly scamming dozens of women out of more than $2.1 million while posing as a U.S. service member stationed overseas looking for love online.

In the alleged romance fraud scheme, federal prosecutors say 35-year-old Rubbin Sarpong, of Millville, New Jersey, “wooed” over 30 women to send him money with the promise of sending “gold bars” back in return.

Sarpong, along with a number of conspirators, communicated with the victims between January 2016 and Sept. 2019, through “myriad email accounts and Voice Over Internet Protocol phone numbers,” according to Department of Justice officials.

Those who fell victim allegedly wired the money to bank accounts held by Sarpong and his conspirators, several of whom reside in Ghana, at financial institutions in the United States. In other cases, prosecutors say, victims also mailed personal checks or through money transfer services such as MoneyGram or Western Union.

Sarpong personally received $823,386 in victim funds and was seen on social media posing with large amounts of cash, expensive cars, and jewelry, prosecutors say.

Sarpong was charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud. At sentencing, Sarpong faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

He is expected to make his initial court appearance Thursday.

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