New Jersey man Rubbin Sarpong, 35, has been charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud after defrauding more than 30 victims through internet dating sites. Authorities said Sarpong and his co-conspirators, several of whom live in Ghana, made over $2.1 million in a dating scam that went on for three years. None of his co-conspirators have been charged.
The elaborate scheme, which began in January 2016, involved Sarpong concocting online dating profiles on Plenty of Fish, Match.com, and other dating websites using fictitious or stolen identities. In these profiles, he portrayed himself as U.S. military personnel stationed overseas in Syria and looking for romance, even though he was living in Millville, New Jersey.
He told his victims that he needed money to ship gold bars to the United States. According to the criminal complaint, his victims sent him money through wire transfers, personal/cashier’s checks, and money transfer services such as Western Union. One victim transferred nearly $94,000 to Sarpong and his crew in June 2018. The next day, the woman, whose identity was not released, allegedly went to Baltimore/Washington International Airport to meet what she thought was a diplomat with a $12 million box of gold. The day after that, the woman committed suicide.
In Millville, Sarpong was living the high life off the unsuspecting women. His photos on Instagram often featured piles of cash, Gucci shirts, expensive jewelry, bottles of Hennessy, and high-end cars, all of which he allegedly bought with money that women sent him. According to the warrant, Sarpong himself raked in more than $820,000 from the scheme. He now faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.