US soldier at Fort Bragg sentenced for running romance scam | #lovescams | #military | #datingscams

  • A federal judge sentenced a former Army service member to prison for running a romance scam.

  • Romance scams cost Americans $1.3 billion in 2022.

  • The service member impersonated military officials and others to defraud his victims, police say.

A US soldier will spend more than three years in federal prison for a romance scam in which police say he impersonated military officials.

A federal judge sentenced Sanda G. Frimpong, 33, on Friday and ordered him to pay his victims hundreds of thousands of dollars in restitution, according to the Department of Justice. Before his arrest, Frimpong was an active-duty Army service member stationed at Fort Bragg, the department said.

Romance scams are one of the biggest in the United States, costing American victims $1.3 billion in 2022, according to the Federal Trade Commission. Targets of these scams are often older people who are bilked for their life savings, retirement funds, and inheritances.

One of the largest perpetrators of the scams — the Nigeria-based crime group “Yahoo Boys” — is now using AI to create deepfakes for the scams, making them even harder to spot, according to Wired. One quick way to spot a deepfake is to do a reverse image search and check the true source of an image.

Kate Kleinert, a 69-year-old widow, previously told BI that she lost $39,000 to a romance scam. Kleinart said she had lost most of her savings, her late husband’s life insurance, pension, and income from Social Security by the time she realized she was being scammed.

One of Frimpong’s victims had recently divorced after a 25-year marriage, according to court documents. Using the alias “Tom Tanner,” Frimpong tricked the victim into sending him at least $100,000 in cashier’s checks, which he wired to other coconspirators, court documents say.

Authorities accused Frimpong of impersonating “romantic love interests, diplomats, customs personnel, military personnel, and other fictitious personas” to gain people’s trust. Frimpong then promised romance, earning their confidence with the intention of “fraudulently inducing the victims to provide money or property,” the Justice Department said.

“Romance scammers exploit our most vulnerable citizens, even our seniors and military veterans, sometimes leaving them financially and emotionally devastated,” US Attorney Michael Easley said. “The fact that an Army service member was involved in romance scams while serving as a soldier is appalling.”

An attorney for Frimpong did not immediately return a request for comment from Business Insider.

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