ATLANTA (AP) — Seven Nigerians are facing charges after prosecutors say they targeted people on dating websites and swindled them out of more than $1.5 million.
The U.S. attorney's office in Atlanta said in a news release Friday that the Nigerians created fake online dating profiles with photos of models or public figures. Prosecutors said they targeted people with financial assets, spending weeks or months courting them.
Prosecutors said they would establish romance and then ask for money, saying it was for travel or business deals. After receiving the money, officials say the conspirators would transfer it to other accounts.
The indictments charge the defendants with a total of 60 counts of wire fraud, money laundering, identity theft and use of false passports.
Five have been arrested and two are fugitives.