A Millville man who pleaded guilty to money laundering and other charges will spend 14 years in prison and pay restitution to 36 victims and multiple government agencies, U.S. District Judge Renee Marie Bumb ruled Tuesday.
Rubbin Sarpong, 38, was charged with conspiring to commit wire fraud, conspiring to commit money laundering and tax evasion, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger said.
Besides prison, Bumb ordered that Sarpong complete three years of supervised release and pay restitution of $3.08 million to the victims, $387,923 in back taxes to the IRS, $4,096 to the New Jersey Department of Health and Human Services and $6,903 to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Sellinger said in a news release.
Court documents state that from January 2016 to Sept. 3, 2019, Sarpong and his conspirators, several of whom live in Ghana, allegedly defrauded victims in New Jersey and elsewhere.
Through stolen or fictitious names and posing as U.S. military personnel overseas, the conspirators used dating websites to develop relationships with their victims to receive money. The money they received was often used as payment to ship gold bars to the U.S., Sellinger previously said.
Although the stories varied, most often Sarpong and the conspirators would claim to be military personnel stationed in Syria asking victims to send money to help transport gold bars to the United States. The conspirators told many victims their money would be returned once the gold bars were received in the U.S.
The money received, however, was withdrawn as cash and wired to other domestic bank accounts and to other conspirators in Ghana.
Sarpong purchased property in Ghana and posted photographs of himself on social media, showing him with large amounts of cash, high-end cars, designer clothing and expensive jewelry. Despite having received about $1.14 million in taxable income from the scheme between 2016 and 2018, Sarpong didn’t file income tax returns or pay income tax, resulting in a tax loss of $387,923, Sellinger said.