June 25, 2024

A wedding planned for Saturday took a dramatic turn when the bride and groom, Darlington Akporugo, 46, and Jasmin Sood, 35, were arrested on charges of defrauding elderly Americans of over $3 million through online romance scams.

The wedding, set to take place on May 25 in Houston, Texas, was abruptly canceled following their arrests.

According to the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas, Akporugo and Sood allegedly conspired for over seven years, targeting widowed victims on social media and dating platforms.

In a statement, the USAO detailed the allegations: “Darlington Akporugo, 46, and Jasmin Sood, 35, both of Fulshear, Texas, are charged with conspiring to defraud over a dozen elderly Americans who believed they were in romantic relationships and subsequently sent millions to a network of fraudsters.”

The indictment states that between 2015 and 2022, Akporugo and Sood built trust with their victims, eventually persuading them to transfer substantial sums of money to accounts controlled by the couple.

“The scheme resulted in at least 13 victims being defrauded of approximately $3,123,073,” the statement read. “The indictment includes notice of forfeiture for all illegally derived proceeds from the fraud scheme.”

If convicted, both face severe penalties. “Each faces up to 30 years in prison for each count of wire fraud and conspiracy. Additionally, Akporugo could face an additional 10 years for fraud in connection with an access device and another mandatory two years if convicted of aggravated identity theft,” the statement concluded.

This case underscores the extensive impact of online romance scams and the significant legal consequences for those involved in such fraudulent activities.

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