Broken hearts and empty bank accounts just landed this one Florida man in prison

Apr 30, 2024

They say “it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”

But losing love and money is a different story.

And broken hearts and empty bank accounts just landed this one Florida man in prison.

Almost everyone has been approached or contacted by a scammer at some point in their lives, whether it be through the telephone or on the internet.

Most Americans are natural-born skeptics who consider themselves to be scam-proof.

However, today’s con artists are more sophisticated than ever, thanks to the help of advanced technology.

From spoofing telephone numbers to make someone believe the call is legitimate to setting up entire websites that appear to be real, con artists have access to an ever-increasing array of tools that allow them to trick millions of Americans into falling for their scam.

In 2023, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reported that over 690,000 consumers lost more than $10 billion to fraud, a 14 percent increase over the previous year.

The average amount lost to these scams was roughly $500.

But one scam many Americans aren’t aware of is romance scams.

“Romance scams occur when a criminal adopts a fake online identity to gain a victim’s affection and trust,” the FBI reported. “The scammer then uses the illusion of a romantic or close relationship to manipulate and/or steal from the victim.”

When caught, scammers can face up to several years in prison.

And one Florida man who scammed people out of $2.3 million using a romance scam recently learned this lesson the hard way.

On Tuesday, a federal judge sentenced Florida resident Niselio Barros Garcia Jr. to 48 months in prison for laundering millions of dollars from romance scams to Nigeria.

“Niselio Barros Garcia Jr., 50, of Winter Garden, was part of a network of individuals who laundered proceeds of fraud from romance scams, business email compromises and other fraud schemes,” the Department of Justice reported. “Garcia supplied bank accounts to his co-conspirators for the purpose of receiving proceeds from the scams,” the DOJ continued. “After he received the proceeds, Garcia used a cryptocurrency exchange to conceal and transfer the funds in Bitcoin to co-conspirators in Nigeria.”

Garcia admitted in his plea that he laundered more than $2.3 million and was ordered to forfeit $464,923.91 in proceeds that he personally received from the offense.

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brian Boynton said that “this case demonstrates the department’s continued commitment to prosecuting transnational fraud and those who knowingly facilitate it.”

A broken heart is painful, and for some people it can take years to heal.

But when a broken heart also comes with an empty bank account, that is something that the average person would never be able to put behind them.

DeSantis Daily will keep you up-to-date on any new developments in this ongoing story.

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