Article By Matt Miller | firstname.lastname@example.org
~ August, 2021 ~ A federal grand jury in Harrisburg has indicted a Mechanicsburg couple accused of running an online romance scam that bilked lonely victims, many of them senior citizens, out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The indictment filed in U.S. Middle District Court also seeks the forfeiture of nearly $775,000 in what investigators claim were the ill-gotten gains of James Lamptey and Ashley Romero-Lamptey.
The pair are accused of running a con through online dating services since 2018. Investigators claim the Lampteys feigned romances with those using the dating services and convinced their targets to mail or wire them money.
“The defendants and other co-conspirators then persuaded these individuals to provide them with money under the guise of online romantic relationships, the false promise of a physical meeting and marriage, and through false representations regarding the need for money to pay fictitious expenses,” the indictment states.
One victim from Washington State wired $90,000 to the Lampteys, the indictment states. Another victim from Illinois mailed $174,380 to the couple, it adds. At least seven alleged victims from several states are listed by their initials in the grand jury’s presentment.
The feds claim some of the money the couple received from those people was channeled to Jayash LLC, a company owned by James Lamptey.
The Lampteys are accused of using the funds to buy cars, including at least one Mercedes-Benz, that were then shipped overseas to the African nation of Ghana and other countries.
The two are charged with wire and mail fraud, money laundering and conspiracy. Court filings show James Lamptey is being held in prison pending prosecution while his wife was allowed to remain free while the charges against her are addressed.