Hampshire ringleader of £240,000 romance scam is jailed

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A MAN who pretended to fall in love with women to scam them out of their money has been jailed.

Yaw Sarpong, 22 from Hampshire, was one of the ringleaders for a romance scam, operated over a dating website.

The Hampshire man was one of many involved in the scam

The Hampshire man was one of many involved in the scam

Using the internet personas Kevin Churchill and Kevin Thompson, Sarpong and his group posed as wealthy international businessmen, seducing women before asking them for money to help pay for everything from veterinary bills, to legal fees and travel costs.

Believing they were in a loving relationship, two victims handed over £240,000 between 2016 and 2017.

In a statement, one of the victims named ‘Sharon’, a mother-of-two, said: ‘I lost my sense of self-worth and my integrity, which through the help of victim support and the support of my children, I've managed to restore.

‘Financially, I lost everything and this will continue throughout the rest of my life. I am systematically repaying those I borrowed from and I've had to get a flat share.

‘I just manage to cover my share of the rent and bills, and have nothing left over.’

Sarpong was jailed for 15 months for conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation.

Detective Constable Rebecca Mason, from Surrey Police's economic crime unit, said: ‘This type of crime plays mercilessly on personal emotions.

‘These women have gone from the high excitement of being in love to the extreme low of realising they have been victims of crime and their trust and generosity has been completely abused.

‘I can't emphasise enough, having got to know them throughout this case, that these are both intelligent, sensible women who were taken advantage of by a cunning, cruel and highly manipulative gang of fraudsters.’

Nicholas Adade, 23, from Stoke-on-Trent, was sentenced to three years and seven months for conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation and money laundering, and 14 months for money laundering to run concurrently.

The third ringleader, Eric Ocansey, 35, from Birmingham, was sentenced to two years' imprisonment for conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation, and 14 months for money laundering to run concurrently.

Two others were also jailed, with a sixth person, 23-year-old Makeda Stair from Enfield, to be sentenced on August 9.