NJ man sentenced to 14 years in prison in online dating scam

Rubbin Sarpong, 38, of Millville, N.J., was sentenced today to 14 years in prison for conspiring to commit wire and money laundering, and tax evasion. (United States Attorney’s Office, District of New Jersey)

A New Jersey man has been sentenced to 14 years in federal prison for allegedly helping fool dozens of people into sending millions of dollars to other scammers posing as U.S. military personnel in an online dating scheme.

Rubbin Sarpong, 38, of Millville, New Jersey, must also pay over $3M in restitution to 36 victims under the sentence imposed on Tuesday, along with more than $385K to the IRS.

According to authorities, between January 2016 and September 2019, Sarpong and several of his conspirators, several of whom reside in Ghana, set up dating profiles on various dating websites using fictitious or stolen identities and posing as U.S. military personnel who were stationed overseas.

They would then contact victims and pretend to strike up a romantic relationship with them, before asking for money, usually for the purported purpose of paying to ship gold bars to the U.S.

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Federal officials said Sarpong and the other conspirators managed to steal over $2.1M from at least 40 victims.

Sarpong received roughly $1.14 million in taxable income from the scheme but didn’t file income tax returns and paid no income tax, prosecutors said.

With the Associated Press.