They were convinced they were having an affair with a handsome US Army officer who had contacted them on Facebook. But it was actually a scam .

Behind the man's profile were eight criminals , all Nigerian and living in Italy, who created false identities to convince the victims to send their pension. The group was arrested today by the state police, at the request of the investigating judge of Rome, on charges of aggravated fraud, money laundering and impersonation.

The investigation, which is part of the fight against the so-called " romantic scams ", starts from the complaint of a lady from Lazio contacted on social networks by a certain " Larry Brooks ", a self-styled US army officer, stationed in Syria. The relationship between the two was "real" so much so that the victim, convinced that they would soon get married, sent the man large sums of money which - according to what he had told her - would have been used to cope with the economic difficulties which prevented him from taking his leave and finally arriving in Italy.

The investigations revealed that the group - with the profile of "Mr. Brooks" - collected at least 32 victims , from whom it stole 400 thousand euros , in the period from 2018 to 2021. Of these, however, only 8 formalized a complaint. The proceeds of the scam were, in many cases, transferred abroad. The suspects were also accused of the crime of impersonation: Larry Brooks really exists in the United States and the photo used in the profiles would belong to a US lawyer who filed a complaint with the American authorities.


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