Couple's wedding cancelled after arrest for alleged $3M fraud

The fraudulent couple

In a shocking turn of events, a planned wedding in Houston, Texas, scheduled for Saturday, May 25, 2024, was cancelled after the soon-to-be-married couple, Darlington Akporugo, 46, and Jasmin Sood, 35, were arrested on charges of defrauding elderly Americans of over $3 million through online romance scams.

The couple, who had been together for over seven years, allegedly targeted widowed victims on social media and dating platforms, according to the United States Attorney's Office, Southern District of Texas.

Akporugo and Sood are accused of conspiring to defraud their victims by creating fake online personas and building romantic relationships with them. They would then convince their victims to send them money for various reasons, such as medical emergencies or business ventures.

The couple's alleged scheme spanned over seven years, and they are believed to have targeted multiple victims across the United States.

According to the United States Attorney’s Office, Southern District of Texas, Akporugo and Sood allegedly conspired for over seven years, targeting widowed victims on social media and dating platforms.

A statement by the USAO in April read, “A Nigerian man who resided in Fulshear is set to appear in court on allegations he conspired to defraud over a dozen elder Americans who thought they were in romantic online relationships and sent millions to a network of fraudsters, announced U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani.

“Darlington Akporugo, 46, is scheduled for a detention hearing at 9 a.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrew Edison. Akporugo allegedly conspired with Jasmin Sood, 35, also of Fulshear, to commit wire and mail fraud.”

The statement further mentioned that the fraudulent act went on between 2015 and 2022, as they cultivated trust with their targets, eventually coaxing them into transferring substantial sums of money to various accounts, reportedly controlled by Akporugo and Sood.

It claimed that they defrauded no fewer than 13 victims of $3,123,073, and a notice of forfeiture has been issued for all unlawfully acquired proceeds stemming from the scam.

It read, “The indictment also charges Akporugo with aggravated identity theft and fraud in connection with an access device.

“The scheme allegedly resulted in at least 13 victims being defrauded of an approximate $3,123,073. The indictment includes notice of forfeiture for all illegally derived proceeds from the fraud scheme.”

The indictment revealed that if they are convicted, both face up to 30 years in prison.

“If convicted, both face up to 30 years imprisonment for each of the wire fraud counts and conspiracy. Akporugo faces an additional 10 years on fraud in connection with an access device and another mandatory two years if convicted of aggravated identity theft,” it added.
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