Eight Nigerian men arrested over romance scam that stole $7million from 100 American women

More than 100 mostly American women have been targeted in a decade-long Nigerian romance scam which left them almost $7 million out of pocket, according to authorities.

The victims, many of them vulnerable widows or divorcees, were contacted by the suspected con artists through online dating websites.

The suspects allegedly posed under false identities and tricked the romantic hopefuls into believing they were entering into relationships with them.

Once the women fell for their advances, the suspects allegedly concocted sob stories to get them to send them money.

Eight Nigerian men, aged between 33 and 52, were arrested in Cape Town Tuesday over the alleged scam following a huge global operation led by the US and involving the FBI, the Secret Service, Interpol and South Africa’s Hawks police unit, reported the BBC.

They appeared in South African court Thursday where they await possible extradition to the US.

The suspects face charges in both Texas and New Jersey, including money-laundering, aggravated identity theft and conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud.

Hawks spokesperson Colonel Katlego Mogale said the “fraudsters intimidated and berated their victims, ruined their lives and then disappeared,” reported the BBC.

If convicted, they each face up to 20 years in US prison.

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