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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Ghanaian Posing As Local Sentenced for Online Romance Fraud Scheme

A Ghanaian man has been sentenced for online romance fraud scheme (Photo by Sora Shimazaki from Pexels)

NORFOLK — The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has announced that a Ghanaian has been sentenced for wire fraud as part of a scheme to defraud victims on a dating website.

Richard Yaw Dorpe, a 38-year-old Ghanaian national, posed as a single 57-year-old Virginia Beach man on the website, OurTime, an online dating forum for persons over the age of 50.

In his deception, Dorpe claimed to be a jeweler who traveled abroad to buy gold and other jewelry before returning home to Virginia Beach.

Through the website, he met a 68-year-old Chesapeake widow, only identified as E.F. Between August 2016 and January 2017, the two carried out an online romantic relationship where Dorpe conned E.F. out of gifts including clothes, jewelry, a computer, a watch and over $300,000.

The FBI notes that after E.F. realized that she was a victim of a scam, she was contacted by the agency.

This past January, Ghana approved the United States’ request to extradite Dorpe and the FBI brought him to the Eastern District of Virginia to face charges in the scheme. In May, he pleaded guilty to wire fraud. On Sept. 10, Dorpe was sentenced to forty months in prison.

“The defendant repeatedly and shamelessly defrauded a recently widowed victim through a variety of manipulative tactics, leaving her in financial ruins,” said Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia Raj Parekh. “As this case demonstrates, reporting these scams to law enforcement helps us uncover the fraud schemes and bring scammers, like this defendant, to justice.”

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) notes that combatting elder abuse and financial fraud targeting seniors remains a top priority. Elder abuse is defined by the DOJ as an intentional or negligent act by any person that causes harm or serious risk of harm to an older adult. There are five subtypes of elder abuse that includes: physical abuse, financial fraud, scams and exploitation, caregiver neglect and abandonment, psychological abuse, and sexual abuse.

If you or someone you know might need assistance regarding suspected elder abuse, you are encouraged to report it to the Adult Protective Services Hotline at (888) 832-3858. Reports can also be made to the Virginia Department of Social Services by calling (800) 552-7096 or, for those who are out-of-state, (804) 786-8536. Those who are hearing impaired can call (800) 828-1120.

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