ALEXANDRIA, VA - On February 18, Linda Mbimadong, 29, and Richard Broni, 31, were sentenced in U.S. District Court after both were found guilty of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud.
The couple who lived together in New York City, defrauded a 78-year-old Virginia man out of $580,000, and a 74-year-old woman out of $80,000 in online ‘romance scams.’
The female victim was targeted through Facebook, according to the indictment.
In a press release, the U.S. Attorney's Office stated:
According to the indictment, from at least September 2019 through April 2021, Linda Mbimadong, 29, and Richard Broni, 31, along with other unnamed co-conspirators, targeted elderly victims on social media and email by impersonating romantic love interests, diplomats, military personnel, and more. The pair, and other co-conspirators, tricked victims into mailing them cashier’s checks, wiring funds, and sending Apple computer products and other items of value.
Posing as a young widow who had inherited gold bars, or as a diplomat assisting people in dire straits overseas, Mbimadong, Broni, and other co-conspirators allegedly tricked elderly victims into sending the conspirators large sums of money. Victims were also allegedly directed to purchase brand new Apple MacBooks and mail them to a conspirator. Mbimadong and Broni allegedly received cashier’s checks and wires directly from victims, which they allegedly deposited and shared among the co-conspirators.
Mbimadong was sentenced to 36 months, while Broni was sentenced to 19 months in federal prison.
Both of the convicted scammers came to this country from Ghana, and neither have U.S. citizenship.