Fort Liberty Soldier Sentenced to Over 3 Years for Romance Scams, Bilked Over $350,000 from Victims

A Fort Liberty soldier has been sentenced to 40 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to three counts of money laundering related to "an elaborate series of romance scams," according to federal authorities.

Specialist Sanda G. Frimpong, who was serving on active duty until his arrest in 2023, was ordered to pay back over $350,000 to victims he and others manipulated. Frimpong posed as a romantic suitor to earn his victims' trust and subsequently bilked them out of thousands of dollars, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina said in a press release Thursday.

"Frimpong and other conspirators engaged in elaborate scams, impersonating romantic love interests, diplomats, customs personnel, military personnel, and other fictitious personas," the press release read.

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Frimpong pleaded guilty to three counts of money laundering on Sept. 14.

Frimpong served as an Army specialist, according to the indictment. He immigrated to the U.S. from the Republic of Ghana in 2015 using a K-1 fiancé visa, divorced the sponsor in 2018 and was naturalized as a citizen shortly thereafter.

He laundered the money from his victims often with the help of contacts in Ghana, according to the press release.

In one example included in the indictment, Frimpong posed as a woman in 2020 to target a New York-based widower. He claimed to have been detained by a Canadian customs officer named "Sanda Frimpong," and asked the widower to send a total of $7,400 to help him escape detention, and to help him move bars of gold out of Canada.

In another example, Frimpong posed in 2021 as a soldier deployed to Afghanistan and convinced a divorcee to send him $100,000 to pay for travel expenses and customs fees for moving gold and diamonds. After receiving the funds, Frimpong transferred the money to two bank accounts based in Ghana.

Separately, Frimpong and Ghana-based contacts used stolen U.S. identities to submit fraudulent applications for unemployment benefits and benefits related to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act in 2020.

West Africa, where Ghana is located, is a known source for romance scams. A 2023 Interpol investigation in the region culminated in 100 arrests and more than two million euros seized.

The Federal Trade Commission said nearly 70,000 Americans reported romantic fraud in 2022 -- with personal financial losses reaching $1.3 billion.

Military romance scams are not uncommon, though usually scams involve non-military culprits posing as service members in hopes of more easily garnering sympathy from victims who support troops. Troops can also become victims by having their photos used by scammers.

In 2022, a Texas man was arrested for scamming victims out of almost $1 million by posing as an Army general.

"Romance scammers exploit our most vulnerable citizens, even our seniors and military veterans, sometimes leaving them financially and emotionally devastated," U.S. Attorney Michael Easley said in the U.S. Attorney's Office press release Thursday. "The fact that an Army service member was involved in romance scams while serving as a soldier is appalling."

-- Kelsey Baker is a graduate student at Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism, and a former active-duty Marine. Reach her on X at @KelsBBaker or

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