☷Cumberland County Man Sentenced to 14 Years in Prison for Conspiring to Commit Wire Fraud Money Laundering and Tax Evasion in Connection with Romance Fraud Scheme
Federal Bureau of Investigation ( By Press Release office)
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Cumberland County Man Sentenced to 14 Years in Prison for Conspiring to Commit Wire Fraud , Money Laundering , and Tax Evasion in Connection with Romance Fraud Scheme CAMDEN , N . J . – A Cumberland County , New Jersey , man was sentenced today to 168 months in prison for conspiring to commit wire and money laundering , and tax evasion , in connection with a romance fraud scheme , U . S . Attorney Philip R . Sellinger announced . Rubbin Sarpong , 38 , of Millville , New Jersey , previously pleaded guilty before U . S . District Judge Renée Marie Bumb to an information charging him with conspiring to commit wire fraud , conspiring to commit money laundering and tax evasion . Judge Bumb imposed the sentence today in Camden federal court . According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:From January 2016 to Sept . 3 , 2019 , Sarpong and his conspirators , several of whom reside in Ghana , allegedly participated in an online romance scheme , defrauding victims in New Jersey and elsewhere . Sarpong and the conspirators set up dating profiles on various dating websites , using fictitious or stolen identities and posing as United States military personnel who were stationed overseas . They contacted victims through the dating websites and then pretended to strike up a romantic relationship with them . After establishing virtual romantic relationships with victims on the online dating platforms and via email , the conspirators asked them for money , often for the purported purpose of paying to ship gold bars to the United States . 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 and the conspirators used several email accounts and Voice Over Internet Protocol phone numbers to communicate with victims and instruct them on where to wire money , including recipient names , addresses , financial institutions , and account numbers . At least 40 identified victims wired money to Sarpong and others in the United States , including to 13 bank accounts controlled by Sarpong , some of which were in the names of his friends , relatives , and a fictitious business entity , Rubbin Sarpong Autosales . Occasionally , victims also mailed personal checks or cashier’s checks to the conspirators and also transferred money to the conspirators via money transfer services , such as Western Union and MoneyGram . The funds were not used for the purposes claimed by the conspirators – that is , to transport non - existent gold bars to the United States – but were instead withdrawn in cash , wired to other domestic bank accounts , and wired to other conspirators in Ghana . While engaged in this fraud , Sarpong purchased property in Ghana and posted photographs of himself on social media showing him with large amounts of cash , high - end cars , designer clothing and expensive jewelry . Despite having received approximately $1 . 14 million in taxable income from the scheme during tax years 2016 through 2018 , Sarpong filed no income tax returns and paid no income tax , resulting in a tax loss of $387 , 923 . In addition to the prison term , Judge Bumb sentenced Sarpong to three years of supervised release and ordered him to pay restitution of $3 . 08 million to 36 victims , $387 , 923 to IRS , $4 , 096 to the New Jersey Department of Health and Human Services and $6 , 903 to the U . S . Department of Agriculture . U . S . Attorney Sellinger credited special agents of the FBI , Atlantic City Resident Agency , under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Michael Messenger in Newark; special agents of the Department of Homeland Security , Homeland Security Investigations , under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jason J . Molina in Newark; special agents of IRS - Criminal Investigation , under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Tammy Tomlins in Newark; and special agents of the U . S . Attorney’s Office , under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Thomas Mahoney , with the investigation leading to today’s sentencing . The government is represented by Assistant U . S . Attorney Diana Vondra Carrig of the U . S Attorney’s Office in Camden .
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