The scammer who had impersonated the American captain told the woman that he had found a bag of diamonds in Syria and would want to smuggle it out of the country.
The United States’ Department of Justice has released details of how some Nigerian fraudsters operating outside of Los Angeles and in Nigeria, fraudulently dispossessed a Japanese woman of $200,000, an equivalent of N70 million.
The woman, simply identified as J.K, was a victim of an online romance scam.
According to the DoJ, J.K had thought she was in conversation with a US Army captain, Terry Garcia, stationed in Syria.
Over the course of 10 months, J.K exchanged daily messages with supposed Garcia and ended up losing $200,000.
In the elaborate scheme to swindle F.K of her money, the scammer who had impersonated the American captain told the woman that he had found a bag of diamonds in Syria and would want to smuggle it out of the country.
He introduced J.k to supposed associate and Red Cross representative to legitimize his claims.
This Red Cross representative would later inform J.K that Gracia had been injured but had given him the box of diamond.
F.K. eventually made 35 to 40 payments, receiving as many as 10 to 15 emails a day directing her to send money to accounts in the U.S. Turkey and the United Kingdom through the captain’s many purported associates.
The fraudsters even threatened her with arrest if she did not continue to pay and at one point she travelled to Los Angeles because she was told a Russian bank manager had embezzled more than $33,000 of her funds.
This was part of the indictment on the 77 Nigerians accused of online fraud and money laundering.
Reacting to the incident, Nick Hanna. United States Attorney for the Central District of California, said: “We believe this is one of the largest cases of its kind in US history. We are taking a major step to disrupt these criminal networks.”
The indictment was a result of about three years’ investigation.
“F.K. was and is extremely depressed and angry about these losses,” the federal complaint states.
“She began crying when discussing the way that these losses have affected her.”
United States’ authorities arrested 14 defendants on Thursday, mostly in the Los Angeles area.
US officials said they are also working with security outfits of other nations to bring the culprits not in America to justice.