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Solider Accused of Romance Scheme

Todd PittengerMay 27, 2022

A federal grand jury has indicted a Fort Riley soldier for allegedly participating in a scheme to fraudulently obtain approximately $149,476 from at least 25 individuals.

According to court documents, 24-year-old Innocent N. Ugwu, 24, of Fort Riley, Kansas, is charged with five counts of wire fraud, five counts of laundering monetary instruments, and one count of procurement of citizenship or naturalization unlawfully.

From an unknown date until January 2021, Ugwu is accused of conspiring with others to defraud money from individuals in the United States using false pretenses and promises, and the omission of material facts to carry out romance, advance fee and other fraudulent schemes.

According to the FBI, romance scams occur when a criminal adopts a fake online identity to gain a victim’s affection and trust. The scammer then uses the illusion of a romantic or close relationship to manipulate and/or steal from the victim.

The U.S. Secret Service and the Department of Defense, Defense Criminal Investigative Service are investigating the case. Special U.S. Assistant Attorney Robin Graham and U.S. Assistant Attorney Christine Kenney are prosecuting the case.

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