Mother, Daughter Duo That Helped Nigerian Scammers Steal Money, Get Sentenced

Tracy Vasseur and her mother, Karen Vasseur,

Tracy Vasseur and her mother, Karen Vasseur,

 

 

As we all know, Nigerian scam artists are rampant on Facebook and Dating websites, stealing Soldier’s pictures and trying to defraud unsuspecting victims.

But this duo, assisted the scammer’s by helping to funnel money from the victims to Nigeria. This is why we continuously tell troops to lock down their profile’s so only friends can see everything, so they do not have pictures stolen.

According to ABC:

A mother and daughter who tricked hundreds of people into sending money to individuals they thought were U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan were sentenced to prison for their role in the “romance scam,” Colorado’s attorney general announced Wednesday.

 

Prosecutors said the pair helped funnel money to Nigeria after their accomplices lured women ononline dating sites into becoming romantically involved with and giving thousands of dollars to people they thought were members of the military. The two stole more than $1 million, ultimately roping in 374 victims in more than 40 countries, the attorney general said.

The mostly female victims were looking for love on the Internet, but instead had their hearts broken when they realized the soldiers weren’t real, prosecutors said in their indictment last year.

 

They fell victim to the scheme on dating and social networking sites, including Facebook, prosecutors said. The perpetrators sent photographs and military documents to the victims to convince them they were soldiers, then asked the victims to wire money to pay for satellite phones or travel expenses so they could visit, prosecutors said.

Tracy Vasseur and her mother, Karen Vasseur, acted as agents who received those payments and passed them on to Nigeria, prosecutors said, and now they each face a dozen or more years of prison time after pleading guilty to violating the Colorado Organized Crime Control Act, the attorney general’s office said. Prosecutors accused them of posing as “agents” who opened 20 bank accounts and wired money from the victims to individuals in Nigeria from 2009 to 2012.

Colorado Attorney General John W. Suthers told ABC News the scam was the first he dealt with in which the perpetrators invoked the military to win over victims. Exploiting the military led to particularly harsh sentences, he said.

“The military angle was something that was very offensive to us, and we were able to convey that to the court, and they were similarly repulsed by it,” Suthers said.

The mother-daughter team sent the money to 94 locations in Nigeria, and an ongoing investigation by the U.S. Secret Service and others has yet to pinpoint the people who directed the Vasseurs, Suthers said. The pair also sent money to Ecuador, Great Britain, India, the United Arab Emirates and elsewhere in the United States, last year’s indictment read.

 

Suthers said the way in which the duo become involved in the fraud in the first place remained a “loose end” that had yet to be resolved.

 

Tracy Vasseur admitted to investigators that she used her 16-year-old daughter to send and receive tens of thousands of dollars in the wire transfers, prosecutors said in their indictment of the pair last year.

She was sentenced on Monday to 15 years in jail and five years parole in the Internet scam case. She also received a four-year sentence for crimes she committed while free on bond.

Her mother was sentenced in July to 12 years in jail and five years parole for her role in the scam, in addition to a 10-year sentence for stealing money by promising loans that never materialized.

Tracy Vasseur’s lawyer, Christian Earle, declined to comment on the sentencing, and her mother’s lawyer, James Aber, did not respond to a request for comment.

A hearing to determine restitution is forthcoming, according to the attorney general’s office.

Everyone needs to make sure you safeguard your personal information on Facebook, especially pictures of you in uniform and your family! We are seeing a minimum of 20 emails daily of Soldiers saying someone is using pictures of them and/or family to create fake profiles. Help us, help you, and LOCK down your profile so only friends can see your stuff.

And Ladies, be careful when on these dating sites, and Facebook, no Soldier is going to ask you for money for medical expenses or Satellite phone time. They are also creating fake documents and ID’s to make them seem legit. The main one is a fake leave form, asking the victim to sign it do the Soldier can go on leave. NO ONE signs the leave form bu the Soldier, the approving authorities!

We are certainly making a difference in this fight, lots of females have started finding our site, and sending us emails asking questions about someone they met online. And 90% of what we get turn out to be fake profiles ran by scammers.

Stay Vigilant, and keep your information Safe and Private!!

 


 

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4 comments on “Mother, Daughter Duo That Helped Nigerian Scammers Steal Money, Get Sentenced
  1. I’m so glad these deadbeat low life gutter trash are being ferreted out and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. There are plenty more like these two scumbuckets out there on the internet doing various versions of the same thing and I hope to God they are all caught and go to gail. I know of one case where the FBI has been working on it for a couple of years now and arrests are imminant. Finally, scammers aren’t going to be able to scam people on the internet much longer. I do know, however, that the amount of money being scammed plays a huge role in whether or not the FBI goes after anyone person or group. My observation has been that it’s usually at least $1,000,000 being scammed (without taxes being paid) that gets their attention. So, small time scammers seem to have an opportunity to scam under one name, then move on to perpetuate the same or a similar scam under another name. Maybe those people will also, one day, be sniffed out and prosecuted. Dating sites seem to be more of a trap to honest people looking for love. My advice to them would be to look around your neighborhood. Go to social events, go on dates with people who have been recommended by friends. Above all, check out their backgrounds even if it costs $$ to do so. It’s well worth it in the end. I’m so sorry the soldiers’ identities were used. I hope they were not personally negatively affected by this reprehensible act. As to the two scumbuckets who pictures are downright FUGLY and frightening…..bye bye sweetpeas…hope your stint in the big house will net you some “lessons” in life.

  2. Here’s two observations I have from this story:

    1. Why would these two POS’s even send the money to Nigeria? If they’re in the business of conning, why not just keep the money for themselves and screw the Nigerians?

    2. This shows how rarely our government prosecutes these crimes. A total of 374 people over four years, and THEN they finally do something. Obviously it’s nearly impossible to charge Nigerian nationals operating out of Nigeria. But online scams in general are almost NEVER prosecuted or even investigated. I have had my credit card information stolen twice and had fraudulent charges placed. What did the bank do? They just ate the cost and replaced the money. More often than not, it costs them more to investigate and prosecute than it does to just eat the costs. But at what price? So the same person can go and do it all over again, likely defrauding another user of the same CC company.

    Furthermore, why is there not more collaboration with our federal government and the Nigerian government? Why do we not give them an ultimatum of completely firewalling all IP addresses from that nation, and even immigration/travel rights (such as we do with communist nations), if they do not aid in prosecuting/preventing these crimes that are so rampant from their country? Why do we let them do this to our people every day? We collaborate with Mexico on fighting the cartels, illegal immigration, and the War On Drugs. Why is it not possible — or even a priority — to do this with Nigeria?

    There is nowhere near enough national attention on this. How much longer is the federal government going to allow them to FREELY operate scams on our people? Just let them steal whatever they can get and never try to stop it (unless if there are Americans helping in their con — then only go after them)?

  3. A while back, I received an e-mail telling me a person won a very large lottery and wanted to share it with me and all I had to do was provide certain information (I didn’t) and send a (large) transfer fee. I didn’t fall for it because of how badly it was written. I was in a really bad mood so instead of reporting it & deleting the e-mail, I responded to it with: “If you want to send me money, go right ahead. Because I know this is a BULLS*** SCAM, I am forwarding this e-mail and your information to the proper authorities.” The person actually e-mailed me back & was pi$$ed at ME because I said it was a BS scam! Now, I think I have a sick sense of humor, because every time I got an e-mail from them, I would respond with (what I would consider) an insult, mocking their spelling & grammar, etc. They even sent me a link to a British newspaper article ‘confirming’ their story. (I asked a friend in the UK if it was true & they advised me it was not.) I wrote back asking how many people won this particular lottery because I got the exact same e-mail from FOUR other people using the same article & lottery numbers (the only thing that changed was the winners name!). After I said I was forwarding the e-mails to the authorities, I didn’t hear from them again.

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