ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A Nigerian native living in Albuquerque is facing charges after the feds say he posed as a military hero to scam lonely women out of their money. The FBI says Muniru Abubakar posed as a member of the special forces, a U.S. Naval officer, a soldier in Iraq, and a Marine Sergeant Major, a war hero who actually received the Navy Cross for his actions in Fallujah.
Agents say Abubakar developed a three-year online relationship with a 65-year-old woman pretending he was the war hero. He even sent her pics showing the Navy Cross, convincing her to send him money multiple times while he was stationed overseas.
According to federal documents, she was just one of five women in their 50s, 60s, and 70s from around the United States sending Abubakar thousands of dollars at a time through cash apps, all believing they were in love with a serviceman stationed overseas.
KRQE News 13 investigative reporter Larry Barker highlighted these Nigerian romance scams back in 2014. “These are individuals who are looking to make a buck the easy way. They are basically professionals. They do this for a living. Their objective is to rob people blind of their money. They have no conscience with what they do,” said Dr. Ricahrd Brody, UNM Anderson School of Management.
The women claim they were taken for more than $500,000 combined over the past five years or so, all trying to help men they thought were heroes in need.
The FBI sent confidential informants and undercover agents online to catch Abubakar in the act. He was arrested in May in Atlanta while trying to board a plane to get back to Nigeria. The FBI says a lot of the money ended up there. He’s charged with 82 counts of fraud.