Romance Scams Explained by a NY Internet Crimes Defense Lawyer
Romance scams involve the promise of romantic companionship or love, but end up resulting in loss for the person who is scammed. Romance scams typically involve obtaining money or other items of value through false pretenses. Trust is gained by pretending to be a potential romantic partner. There are many different kinds of romance scams, some of which take place internationally, and dating fraud of any type can result in criminal charges for those who are accused of operating scams.
Being charged for Internet dating fraud or dating site scams can mean facing federal charges or state charges, either of which can carry long prison sentences. It is not uncommon for involvement with an online dating scam to lead to indictment on multiple counts.
Bukh Law Firm, PLLC has represented many clients facing the potential for decades of imprisonment. We know how to aggressively fight charges and we have a long track record of successfully helping clients to avoid prison or to end up with reduced sentences. Call today if you have been accused of involvement with an online dating scam so our NY criminal defense attorneys can begin working on your case.
What is Dating Fraud?
Dating fraud involves using the Internet to connect with someone by posing as a potential date or romantic partner. Often, a fake picture is used of someone who is very attractive, making it easier to entice people to respond to romantic propositions. A fake profile is created with inaccurate information posted to attract someone to scam. The creation of a fake online identity is called catfishing. Once someone has responded or seems receptive to a romantic relationship, emails and other messages are exchanged. Trust is built over time.
Once trust has been established based on false pretenses, the requests for money or other items begins. Dating fraud can involve asking someone to send money, or to send gifts. In some cases, the fraud involves asking someone to send intimate pictures or to provide personal identifying details or details from financial accounts.The intimate pictures may be posted on pornographic websites or used to blackmail someone, while the personal identifying details can be used for identity theft scams.
Types of Online Dating Site Scams
Romance scams take many different forms. While many begin on dating sites, some begin on social networks or many other types of websites. Scams can be perpetrated anywhere where people can make connections. The goal of the scams is to find some way to begin a relationship with h a person who could eventually be coerced into sending money or gifts or providing sensitive information. Arkady Bukh has a long track record of representing clients accused of serious federal and state crimes in NYC TOP RATED ON: SUPER LAWYERS, AVVO, NATIONAL TRIAL LAWYERS
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Some common types of romance scams or dating site scams include:
- Russian dating scams: In some cases, Russian dating scams take the form of offering Russian “mail-order brides.” Money may be paid up front to “order” a bride, but there is no actual woman who is interested in a relationship. Russian dating scams can also take the form of traditional online dating fraud, with fake profiles being created on standard dating sites or social networks.
- Personal emergency scams: After trust has been established, a “personal emergency” arises. The scam involves claiming that a family member is ill, that rent is due, or that some other emergency has occurred. The goal is to get the person being scammed to send money to someone that he or she believes is in love with him.
- Reshipping scams: A request is made to the person being scammed, asking him to receive a package and resend it somewhere else. Electronics or other valuable items are ordered with stolen credit cards and are sent to the person being scammed. Allegedly, these items are sent by the romantic partner (who does not really exist). The person being scammed is told a story about why the item needs to be forwarded on to a foreign address. It does not become apparent the item was purchased with stolen cards until the item has already been shipped on.
- Money muling scams: The fake romantic partner asks the person being scammed to accept a deposit of money and send the cash along to someone. Often, there is a story about why the money has to be sent, like receiving an inheritance and needing to get the cash out of the country. Money is sent from an account without authorization of the owner, or a fraudulent transfer occurs, or a fraudulent check is provided. The person being scammed accepts or deposits the money, and then wires money to the scammer. Only after money is sent, untraceably, does it become apparent that the initial deposit was fraudulent.
These are just a few of many different romance scams. In the simplest scams, a fake profile is created, a fake relationship is formed, and the victim of the scam sends money or gifts to someone he believes he’s involved in a romantic relationship with, even though that person is not really who he claimed to be and there is no actual relationship.
Penalties for Online Romance Scams
Perpetrating an online romance scam can lead to criminal charges in federal court. This is especially true if the scam occurs across state lines or across international borders. The federal government has laws prohibiting Internet Fraud, identity theft, and bank fraud, among many other criminal laws. A charge of wire fraud or mail fraud for using wire service or the postal service in a wire transfer scam or any type of online romance scam can also lead to between 20 and 30 years imprisonment.
Those operating Russian dating scams, Nigerian scams dating, or other types of International dating site scams may be located outside of the United States. The U.S. government has limited options for extradition, but defendants could be arrested when traveling to the United States or to certain other countries that cooperate with holding individuals wanted for U.S. crimes. If you are apprehended and charged with a U.S. crime, you could be imprisoned in the U.S. upon conviction, but you are entitled to due process and many of the same constitutional protections as citizens of the United States.
How a NY Internet Crimes Lawyer Can Help With Charges of Dating Fraud
Bukh Law Firm, PLLC has extensive experience defending clients accused of involvement with any online dating scam. We provide guidance at every step of your case so a strategic plan can be developed for responding to charges, which may include fighting conviction, negotiating a plea agreement, or seeking dismissal of charges. To learn more about the legal assistance and vigorous defense assistance offered by our NY criminal defense lawyers, contact us today.