The American soldier was indicted in federal court after authorities said he did cheated nearly $ 150,000 with at least 25 people in romantic scams and other schemes.
24-year-old Innocent N. Ugwu is now charged with “five counts of fraud, five counts of money laundering and one count of illegal citizenship or naturalization,” according to a press release from the U.S. District Attorney’s Office. Kansas.
The soldier, who was born in Nigeria and is now based in Fort Riley, Kansas, is charged with operating the schemes from July 2019 to January 2021, according to court records.
Authorities say Ugwu enlisted in the military and applied for U.S. citizenship in 2019. He completed basic training in March and has been stationed in Kansas since August.
While serving in the United States, UHWU targeted victims of romantic scams, advance payment schemes and other fraudulent tricks, according to an indictment filed in court.
As of May 26, his lawyer has not been released and could not be reached for comment.
Authorities say in romantic scams, impostors pretend to be a “potential romantic partner” on dating sites to trick people into sending money after discovering a romantic interest. Prepayment schemes involve promising victims something like a loan, contract, or high-value gift in exchange for money.
“However, the person targeted by the person actually receives little or nothing in return,” officials said.
According to the court, Ugwu is also accused of providing false information in his application for citizenship and in an interview for US citizenship. He completed the application in March 2019, but was allowed to make updates in January 2020.
Authorities say he has not disclosed that he has made two trips outside the U.S. in more than a day in the past five years, and he has declared marriage to a U.S. citizen after his divorce and remarriage to a Nigerian citizen.
Officials say he also falsely answered “no” to the question of whether he committed or was involved in any criminal activity after he was told that “his banking activities were fraudulent and criminal.”