ATLANTA — A local woman thought she found true love online, but ended up heartbroken... and broke. She fell victim to a romance scam.
A federal grand jury recently indicted seven Nigerian nationals accused being a part of an online romance fraud. The charges range from wire fraud to identity theft.
Five people were arrested and two others are still wanted. Authorities said the suspects stole more than $1.5 million.
11Alive talked to one woman who had hundreds-of-thousands of dollars stolen from her as part of the scam.
"All the romantic things he could say, talking about our future together," the woman, whom 11Alive is not identifying, said. "I had feelings for the person."
She said she lost everything – $300,000.
"My life's savings," she said.
The woman said she created a profile on a popular online dating site. A man who looked like "Mr. Right" reached out to her.
"We go into this thinking these are real people, true, honest people," she explained.
The victim said the man who took from her started off by asking for small amounts of money, but then he kept going.
"I really hesitated," she said. "But he kept calling me and assuring me that I would get my money back."
If convicted, the suspects will likely be ordered to pay back their victims, but even investigators admit, that money is likely gone.
In the case that the feds are investigating, the indictments charge the defendants with a total of 60 counts of wire fraud, money laundering, identity theft, and use of false passports. Below is a list of some of the defendants:
- Olu Victor Alonge. Alonge also goes by Serge Damessi, Didier Baraze, Mobo Marcus Adeh, Ayo Baraze, Nicolas Soglo
- Ugochukwu Lazarus Onebunne. Onebunne also goes by Policap Tizhe, Saheed Ademoha,
- Olajide Olalekan Adara. Adara also goes by Kelvin Mensah
- Joshua Adedeji Ipoade
- Oladunni Temitope Oladipupo, 24, of Lynn, Massachusetts
Two other defendants are fugitives and their identities remain sealed.