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Mother, daughter get prison for online romance scam

Aug. 30, 2013 at 11:48 AM

DENVER, Aug. 30 (UPI) -- A Colorado mother and daughter were sentenced to prison for an Internet scam that tricked victims into sending money to people they thought were U.S. soldiers.

Colorado Attorney General John Suthers says Karen Vasseur and her daughter, Tracy, both Brighton residents, defrauded their victims of at least $1 million, KCNC-TV, Denver, reported Friday. They targeted women looking for romance on online dating sites.

"Not only did this mother-daughter duo break the law, they broke hearts worldwide," Suthers said in a statement. "It is fitting that they received stiff sentences for their unconscionable crimes committed in the name of love and the United States military."

Tracy Vasseur received a 15-year sentence Monday, ABC News reported. Her mother was sentenced to 12 years in July.

Suthers said at least 374 people in 40 countries were cheated. They got involved in online relationships with people they believed to be U.S. soldiers serving in Afghanistan and would then be asked to send money so their boyfriends could travel to meet them or for satellite phones.

Investigators say they do not yet know who the women were working for or how they became involved in the scheme. Most of the money was wired to Nigeria, although some went to other countries, including Britain, Ecuador, the United Arab Emirates and elsewhere in the United States.

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