Six people from Florida face federal charges after being accused of posing as Department of Homeland Security agents in order to execute an online dating scam.
The alleged scammers first posted dating adverts for women searching for companionship online.
According to the US Attorney’s Office, after people responded to the adverts and exchanged photos with them, the alleged scammers then contacted the respondents posing as government agents.
They pretended to be agents from the Department of Homeland Security, telling people who responded to the adverts that the women in the photos were actually under-18.
They then said they faced charges of soliciting a minor and that warrants had been issued for their arrests, but they could avoid jail time by paying a fine.
The alleged fraudsters even sent fake paperwork carrying the official Department of Homeland Security seal and a judge’s name, as well as legal details about child exploitation.
According to court documents, the defendants collected almost $25,000, with one alleged victim handing over as much as $2,468.
Speaking about the case, Tammy Spicer, a spokesperson for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said: “A legitimate ICE officer would never request money, and/or anything else of value, in exchange for not taking a person into custody or not investigating a crime.”
The alleged scheme apparently ran from 1st August 2015 until earlier this July.
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