Thursday, June 21, 2012

Attorney General announces indictment of two individuals involved in internet dating scam

Colorado Attorney General John Suthers announced today that his office has obtained an indictment of Tracy Vasseur (DOB: 7/10/1971) and her mother, Karen Vasseur (DOB: 10/19/1938), of Brighton for their roles in a “Nigerian internet romance scam.” The indictment alleges that, as part of the scam, the Vasseurs stole over one million dollars from 374 victims throughout the United States and from 40 other countries.

According to the 20-count indictment, which alleges violations of the Colorado Organized Crime Control Act, Money Laundering and Theft, individuals working with the Vasseurs lured unsuspecting women to internet dating sites by posing as members of the U.S. military serving in Afghanistan. After a phony relationship was established, victims were asked to send money and were led to believe that the soldiers would use the money to retrieve property, travel to the U.S., and pay other expenses. The indictment alleges that Tracy and Karen Vasseur posed as military agents and accepted hundreds of payments sent by victims via wire over a three-year period.

The Vasseurs took a percentage of the stolen money and then wired the remaining money to associates in Nigeria. The Vasseurs established 20 personal and business bank accounts at 11 local banks for the purpose of laundering the stolen money. As part of the scheme, Tracy Vasseur also used a 16-year-old to fraudulently receive stolen money and then wire it to Nigeria.

Tracy Vasseur faces up to 205 years in prison if convicted on all counts. Karen Vasseur faces up to 172 years in prison.

The Office of the Attorney General worked in conjunction with the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, the Brighton Police Department and the U.S. Secret Service to investigate the case and secure the indictment. The Office of the Attorney General will prosecute the case in Adams County District Court.

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