CRIME

Tracy Vasseur, Karen Vasseur Sentenced To Jail For 'Nigerian Internet Romance Scam'

08/30/2013 10:09 am ET
Colorado Attorney General's Office

A mother-daughter team has a date behind bars for running an Internet dating scam that cheated one unsuspecting woman out of $1 million.

Tracy Vasseur, 40, and her mother, Karen Vasseur, 74, of Brighton, Colo., were sentenced on Wednesday for their roles in a plot to lure women to Internet dating sites by posing as members of the U.S. military serving in Afghanistan, according to ABC Denver.

"Not only did this mother-daughter duo break the law, they broke hearts worldwide," Colorado Attorney General John Suthers said in a statement obtained by the station. "It is fitting that they received stiff sentences for their unconscionable crimes committed in the name of love and the United States military."

The Vasseurs posed as active-duty soldiers who were looking for love.

After establishing a relationship, the fake soldier would ask for money to be sent to an "agent" in Colorado, via Western Union or Money Gram, to pay for satellite phones or travel expenses so the military member could speak directly to his new girlfriend or take leave to visit her in person, according to the New York Daily News.

One transaction was as high as $59,000, according to court documents obtained by the BBC.

The Vasseurs kept some of the money they bilked out of their victims, but sent the majority of the money to accomplices living in Nigeria, the United Kingdom, India, and Ecuador.

Tracy Vasseur was sentenced to 15 years, plus five years parole. In addition, she received a four-year sentence from a separate case related to trying to gain control over her children's inheritance and for attempting to influence a public servant, 9news.com reported.

Karen Vasseur also pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 12 years with the Department of Corrections, plus five years parole, to run concurrent to a 10-year sentence she received for multiple counts of theft from at-risk adults in Weld County, Colo.

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