A 78-year-old Virginia man was scammed out of $500,000 by an online love interest claiming to be a window.

A 78-year-old Virginia man was scammed out of $500,000 by an online love interest claiming to be a window.

A 78-year-old Virginia man who was looking for love on a dating app was scammed out of $500,000 after falling victim to a pair of online scammers.

An unnamed man from Annandale, who spent his whole life investigating fraud for the government, became a victim himself.

He created a social media account called iFlirt in an attempt to find company and contacted someone who identified himself as a widowed woman in her 30s who seemed interested.

The man sent him photos of what he believed to be himself that matched that description, but as the online relationship grew, the scam began to surface.

The woman, who initially claimed to be from New York, said she was arrested on a trip to Germany to collect a gold bullion inheritance and needed money to post bail.

Richard Brony Linda Mbimadong

Ghanaian citizens Richard Brony, 31, and Linda Mbimadong, 29, were involved in a conspiracy to extort money from unsuspecting individuals online. Prosecutors described them as “money mules” who never made contact with the victim themselves, but helped obtain and launder money in exchange for a 5-10 percent reduction in proceeds.

Despite strange circumstances, the man paid, but received another message that she was arrested for the second time and she needed more money to post bail.

The accomplices convinced the man to use his IRA money.

A Virginia man created a social media account called iFlirt in an attempt to find company and contacted someone claiming to be a widowed woman in her 30s who seemed interested but it was all part of a scam.

A Virginia man created a social media account called iFlirt in an attempt to find company and contacted someone claiming to be a widowed woman in her 30s who seemed interested but it was all part of a scam.

He told the scammers that he was depressed and contemplating suicide, but the scammers continued to pressure him to send more money.

Along with over $400,000 in cash, he spent $200,000 on conspiracy Apple products that were to be used to raise money for “a woman’s release from prison.”

In two months, a Virginia man sent 53 packages of Apple products. According to prosecutors, they were sold in Ghana.

In the end, the Annandale man, who was not identified in court documents, was arrested for more than $500,000.

He has since been diagnosed with dementia and has become the latest victim of a growing trend known as the romantic scam.

“It doesn’t matter when [he] testified that his credit was ruined, that he could not afford to pay for his health insurance, his bills, or even his medications,” the man’s son wrote.

According to him, the scammers “took advantage of an elderly man with deteriorating physical and mental health, without showing remorse, trying at every step to extract the maximum amount possible for him.”

According to a report from the Federal Trade Commission, romance scams hit an all-time high in 2021, up nearly 80 percent from 2020.

Over the past five years, victims of these scams have lost more than $1.3 billion, according to the Federal Trade Commission, more than any other category of scam the agency monitors.

On Friday, a federal court in Alexandria sentenced two scammers who scammed a man from Annandale.

Ghanaian citizens Linda Mbimadong, 29, and Richard Brony, 31, played relatively minor roles in the fraud: Prosecutors describe them as “money mules” who never came into contact with the victim themselves, but helped to receive and launder money in exchange for 5 to 10 percent of revenue.

The couple, who were romantically involved, worked with several unnamed accomplices to scam older victims online to send them cashier’s checks, telegrams and Apple products.

Mbimadong was imprisoned for 36 months and Broni for 19 months.

“There was a lot I didn’t know about what was going on,” Mbimadong told a judge in court. “I just looked the other way.

She agreed to pay the victims $1.3 million. Brony will pay $87,000.

“It was really an ageless classic trust game that plays out on modern social media,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Russell Carlberg said in court.

The victim’s children contacted law enforcement in April 2020, launching an investigation that resulted in the convictions of Broni and Mbimadong.

Prosecutors estimate the scheme targeted multiple victims and made over $42 million, most of which went to Ghana, where the scam was hosted.

Judge T.S. Ellis said the sentences for Mbimadong and Brony would have been tougher had they not cooperated with authorities in identifying other individuals involved in the romantic scam.

Ahead of the court hearing, Mbimadong and Brony, who lived in New York at the time of their arrest, apologized for their actions.

“I have to speak my ugly truth. I was selfish, ambitious and hungry for success,” wrote Mbimadong.

Jessica Aber, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, is handling the Annandale man’s case. She said a large number of romantic scams go unnoticed because the victims are embarrassed that they have fallen for tales like the one the defendants in this case have spun around a widowed royal family and a legacy of gold bars.

In the photo, Richard Dorp, a Ghanaian, portrayed himself as a balding 57-year-old white male from Virginia Beach named

In the photo, Richard Dorp, a Ghanaian, portrayed himself as a balding 57-year-old white male from Virginia Beach named “Jerry Linus” on OurTime, a senior dating site. He conned a 68-year-old Chesapeake widow for more than $300,000, as well as items of clothing, a computer, and jewelry. When she ran out of cash, she took out a mortgage

But she said the scammers are sophisticated and patient in their approach, building rapport with victims for months before making their move.

“These scammers know exactly how to play on people’s emotions,” Aber said in an interview. “They are using third parties to try and verify the stories that are being circulated.”

Authorities take complaints seriously, Aber said; in recent years, her office has prosecuted several cases of romantic fraud.

Dorpe was sentenced to more than three years in prison last year by a federal court in Norfolk.

Dorpe was sentenced to more than three years in prison last year by a federal court in Norfolk.

According to her, scammers operate both domestically and abroad. Sometimes scammers make up exotic stories about international intrigues; in other cases, the approach is more down to earth.

Richard Dorp, a Ghanaian, portrayed himself as a balding 57-year-old white male from Virginia Beach named “Jerry Linus” on the senior dating site OurTime.

He conned a 68-year-old Chesapeake widow for more than $300,000, as well as items of clothing, a computer, and jewelry. When she ran out of cash, she took out a home loan.

Dorpe was sentenced to more than three years in prison last year by a federal court in Norfolk.

Aber encourages potential victims to contact law enforcement. She noted that the FBI has a website for reporting Internet crimes and does a good job of establishing disparate reports when they are made.

“The best thing you can do is to report it so that you can potentially prevent another person from falling victim to such a scheme,” she said.

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