CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A federal jury in Charlotte has convicted Michael Moore, 39, a Liberian national residing in the Philadelphia area, for his involvement in an online romance scam that targeted older adults, announced William T. Stetzer, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. U.S. District Judge Robert J. Conrad Jr. presided over the two-day trial which ended late yesterday.
Ronnie Martinez, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Charlotte, and Barry Chastain, Port Director of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Area in Charlotte join Acting U.S. Attorney Stetzer in making today’s announcement.
According to court documents, trial evidence, and witness testimony, beginning in January 2016, Moore and others engaged in a fraudulent scheme to defraud unsuspecting victims, many of whom were in or near retirement, by perpetrating an online romance scam. Trial evidence established that Moore and his co-conspirators generally targeted victims through Facebook, senior dating websites, and other social media platforms, convincing them through online communications that they were romantically interested in them. The fraudsters, who often said they were overseas for work, would then start asking for money, often falsely telling the victims the money was for plane tickets or to otherwise facilitate their travel to visit the victim….