CHESAPEAKE, Va. - A man from Ghana is in the United States accused of a romance scam that swindled a Chesapeake woman out of more than $300,000.
38-year-old Richard Dorpe was booked into the Western Tidewater Regional Jail last week on wire fraud and mail fraud charges. We first told you about this case in October 2019 after the details of the case became unsealed.
Dorpe is accused of pretending to be a 57-year-old man looking for love on the dating site Ourtime.
The victim is described only as E.F. in the records. The two communicated on various social networking websites.
The indictment states Dorpe used an area code that made it look like he was from Northern Virginia when he fact he was across the world in Ghana. He allegedly told the victim his wife was dead and he had moved to Virginia Beach but traveled for work.
Over the course of the online relationship, federal prosecutors say the victim sent him gifts like a laptop, a watch, clothes and sneakers, and cash totaling over $312,000.
He allegedly told her he needed $200,000 to buy gold for his jewelry business and allegedly told the victim she would be repaid when they got together to celebrate Thanksgiving.
A few months later, court documents state the victim realized what was going on. Dorpe and the victim had a video conference where Dorpe showed himself on the video. According to court documents, to convince the victim he was the person she had been communicating with, he showed her some of the gifts she had sent him on the video.
Crime analyst Richard James said it's surprising that Dorpe is now in the United States, as it's difficult to make arrests in many of these international cases.
News 3 reached out to the FBI, the Virginia Office of the Attorney General and the US Marshals to try and figure out how Dorpe wound up in the United States. We also reached out to Dorpe's public defender.
Dorpe has a bond hearing on January 14 at 10 a.m. in Norfolk Federal Court.
The FBI says in 2019 they had almost 20,000 romance scams reported with a loss of over $4.75 million. That’s a thousand more complaints than the previous year.