U.S. prosecutors have charged six people for conspiring to launder US$3.5 million in proceeds derived from romance scams, a profitable fraud scheme on the rise that defrauded hundreds of millions of dollars from American victims last year.

Hundreds of millions of dollars defrauded from American victims last year through romance scams. (Photo: Wikimedia)Authorities said the scammers preyed on vulnerable people by using online aliases on multiple dating sites and convinced victims to transfer funds to bank accounts controlled by the gang, a complaint unsealed by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York last week revealed.

Under the aliases ‘Diego Francisco’, ‘Richard Francisco’ and ‘Tom Francisco’, the scammers used photos of male models to engage in conversations with the victims and ask them for money.

The excuses to request funds varied – in one version of the scheme, a scammer posed as an architect in Dubai and said he needed funds…

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