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Suspect pleads guilty in online dating app fraud case targeting Navy Sailors

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Posted at 11:55 AM, Nov 24, 2021

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - 21-year-old Emani Burton has pleaded guilty to a charge related to swindling sailors by using online dating apps like Tinder.

During a court hearing on Tuesday, Burton waived her indictment and pleaded guilty to a single count criminal information, charging her with conspiracy to commit bank fraud.

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

Court records that News 3 previously reported on said Burton was 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 maximum penalties for this offense are a maximum term of 30 years in prison, a fine of $1,000,000, full restitution, forfeiture of assets and a maximum supervised release term of five years.

Burton has not yet been sentenced but that hearing is set for March 24, 2022.

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