#onlinedating | N.J. man among 2 headed to prison in $750K online romance fraud involving made up Army sergeant | #bumble | #tinder | #pof

A New Jersey man was among two people sentenced last week for his role in an online dating scheme that swindled a Kentucky woman out of more than $750,000.

Thomas D. Inkoom, 42, of Newark, and Kahad A. Wuupini, 34, of Auburn, Washington, tricked a woman into thinking she he was dating an Army sergeant named James Nehmer and convinced her to send them money for a non-existent investment, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Eastern Kentucky

Inkoom was sentenced to one year and seven months in federal prison and ordered to pay $100,000 in restitution. Wuupini received a seven year, seven month sentence and must pay $757,000 in restitution.

A third man — Baaki Abdul Majeed, of Tacoma, Washington — was convicted Friday of wire fraud conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy, and five counts of transactional money laundering. He is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 29.

After getting cashier’s checks, personal checks and cash from the victim, the trio laundered the money from Washington state and New Jersey back to Ghana by purchasing cars that were shipped to Ghana, prosecutors said. They then obtained cashier’s checks and wired money to each other as well as unnamed others in the U.S. and Ghana.

“The scheme, using fraud and deceit, preyed upon the victim’s hopes and took advantage of her kindness, ultimately stealing over $750,000 of her money,” Robert M. Duncan, Jr., U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky said in a statement. “Unfortunately, internet-based romance scams are becoming more and more prevalent. It is important for people to be cautious about sending money to someone they have only met online. If something seems too good to be true, it often is.”

Wuupini and Inkoom pleaded guilty to the money laundering conspiracy in March. All three men were indicted in August 2019.

The Associated Press contributed to this repot.

Jeff Goldman may be reached at jeff_goldman@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @JGoldmanNJ. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

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