These mules appear in more than one topic victim report here at scamwarners, and one of them actually posted here at one point, claiming that she really worked for the military.
A Brighton mother-daughter team stands accused of helping steal more than $1 million from hundreds of women in an elaborate, multinational online dating scam, according to an indictment announced Tuesday by Colorado Attorney General John Suthers.
Tracy Vasseur, 40, and her mother, Karen Vasseur, 73, face felony charges of racketeering, money laundering, forgery and theft. The elder Vasseur could face up to 172 years in prison if convicted. Her daughter could face up to 205 years.
For three years, the pair allegedly collected money from 374 women in more than 40 countries for unknown Nigerian bosses.
The scam allegedly worked like this:
Unknown agents would pose as male soldiers stationed in Afghanistan and strike up online romances through online dating sites, e-mail and social networks.
As time passed and the relationships progressed, these "soldiers" would ask for money purportedly to buy a satellite phone so the "couple" could talk or to pay for a visit to the unsuspecting paramour. The scammers sent photos and forged military documents to bolster their cases, according to authorities.
Some women gave tens of thousands of dollars, including an alleged victim in Great Britain who wired a fake soldier nearly $60,000.
That money was wired to Colorado, where the Vasseurs allegedly collected it, took their 10 percent and wired the remainder back to Nigeria, according to a Colorado state Grand Jury indictment handed down today.
Authorities believe the Vasseurs — who didn't solicit money from the alleged victims themselves — laundered their share through 20 personal accounts at local banks. The mother and daughter continued the activity even after being warned in 2011 by Brighton police, according to the indictment.
Tracy Vasseur bonded out of Adams County Jail on Monday. Karen Vasseur, remains in custody. The pair will be prosecuted in Adams County District Court.
Jessica Fender: 303-954-1244 or firstname.lastname@example.org