Navy Sailors Swindled Out Of Thousands By Male Catfish Via Dating Apps


Kay Smythe News and Commentary Writer
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Samari Smith, 20, of Newport, Virginia pled guilty in mid-September to being part of a scam targeting sailors on dating apps.

Smith, working with at least four co-conspirators, was convicted of conspiring to commit bank fraud against their victims of more than $40,000 by posing as women on dating apps, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ). Smith’s sentencing is scheduled for late January 2023, where he’ll face a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison, the DOJ said.

The scheme took place from April to August 2021, and was led by Smith’s brother, Trequan Smith, 21, and Emani Burton, 23, who had previously pleaded guilty, according to the DOJ. Trequan Smith was pled guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and aggravated identity in March after he caused $360,000 of fraud loss, according to the Daily Press.

Court documents used in the case against Smith showed that he and the others involved in the scheme used names like “Ariella,” “Elaine,” and “Larina” to get in touch with sailors via dating apps like Tinder, Task and Purpose reported. A majority of those targeted were “junior members” of the Navy, with losses ranging from $1,000 to $91,000, Pilot Online noted. (RELATED: Love Scams Rose 80 Percent In 2021)

Investigators stated that when Smith found out one of his female co-conspirators was contacted by law enforcement, he confronted her when she was a passenger in his car, punching her in the head, choking her, and slamming her head into a window, the outlet reported.