Federal officials announced Wednesday that 15 people have been indicted for their roles in schemes to extort money from members of the military in a dating scam.
Five people named in the indictments are inmates at prisons throughout South Carolina.
“The prisoners, using fictitious online personas, preyed on service members to engage in online romantic relationships and then extort those service members for money,” NCIS Special Agent-in-Charge Drew Goodridge said in a news conference.
Roughly 442 servicemembers lost more than $560,000 in the extortion, the indictments state. Another 250 people are under investigation in Operation Surprise Party.
“Prisoners used various social media and dating sites posing as a female, exchanging pictures with the service members,” Goodridge said. “After the service member responded, prisoners would then assume the role of the female’s father who claimed the female was a juvenile, demanding money in exchange for not pursuing criminal charges.” [Read more…]