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Suspect swindled local Sailors through online dating apps to gain access to bank accounts

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Posted at 10:50 AM, Nov 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-09 18:28:51-05

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - 21-year-old Emani Burton is accused of swindling sailors by using online dating apps like Tinder, according to court records.

Federal prosecutors alleged that a scheme was going on from December 2020 until July 2021 throughout Hampton Roads.

Records said Burton is accused of working with co-conspirators who would pose as Navy Federal Credit Union employees and contact account holders to obtain information needed to accept access to their accounts without consent.

The group is accused of targeting Sailors in the Navy on the dating apps by posing as women interested in romantic relationships.

Court Records said co-conspirators would use the account access they had previously obtained by phishing to transfer funds to Sailors being targeted on online applications and suspects would convince sellers to withdraw and turnover funds from their Navy Federal Credit Union accounts.

Suspects allegedly met with the Sailors at various locations across the region to obtain the fraud proceeds, court records stated.

The Sailors were held responsible for the losses because they withdrew the funds even though they did so under false expectations that the defendant and co-conspirators had transferred money to their accounts to cover the transactions, according to the records.

Federal documents do not state the names of any other suspects and do not list the number of victims in the alleged scheme.

Burton is a used of conspiracy to commit bank fraud.

Records indicate that she is expected to enter a guilty plea and has her next court hearing on November 23.

We reached out to Navy Federal. They issued the following statement:

Navy Federal can't speak to ongoing criminal cases, however we regularly stress the importance of fraud and scam prevention.

  • Scammers may call impersonating your bank, credit union, the government or a well-known company.
  • Never let yourself be pressured into giving information over the phone, especially during an unexpected call. Keep personal information and passcodes private.

An example is this article on our website: https://www.navyfederal.org/resources/articles/security/avoid-phone-scams.html [navyfederal.org]

Tune into News 3 at 6 for live coverage to hear more details from a legal expert on this case.