A man from Millville has been sentenced to 14 years in prison for conspiring to commit wire and money laundering, and tax evasion, in connection with a romance fraud scheme.

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U.S. Attorney Philip Sellinger says 38-year-old Rubbin Sarpong had previously pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit wire fraud, conspiring to commit money laundering, and tax evasion charges and was sentenced in federal court on Tuesday.

According to Sellinger's office,

From January 2016 to Sept. 3, 2019, Sarpong and his conspirators, several of whom reside in Ghana, allegedly participated in an online romance scheme, defrauding victims in New Jersey and elsewhere. Sarpong and the conspirators set up dating profiles on various dating websites, using fictitious or stolen identities and posing as United States military personnel who were stationed overseas. They contacted victims through the dating websites and then pretended to strike up a romantic relationship with them. After establishing virtual romantic relationships with victims on the online dating platforms and via email, the conspirators asked them for money, often for the purported purpose of paying to ship gold bars to the United States.

Officials say dozens of people wired money and/or mailed checks to Sarpong that were deposited into numerous bank accounts controlled by Sarpong, some of which were in the names of his friends, relatives, and a fictitious business entity, Rubbin Sarpong Autosales.

With the money, Sellinger says Sarpong bought property in Ghana and posted pictures of himself on social media showing him with large amounts of money, high-end cars, designer clothing, and expensive jewelry.

In addition to the prison term, Sarpong was sentenced to three years of supervised release and he was ordered to pay $3 million in restitution, $387,000 to the IRS, $4,000 to the New Jersey Department of Health and Human Services, and almost $7,000 to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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