Joseph Okpako/Redferns via Getty ImagesWith Valentine’s Day around the corner, here’s a reminder to exercise caution when chatting with someone who may seem too good to be true.
One woman truly believed that she was in a relationship with “Grenade” singer Bruno Mars, after a man pretending to be him contacted her on social media. She was being catfished and, unfortunately, was scammed out of $100,000.
ABC affiliate KFSN reports that Chinwendu Azuonwu of Houston, Texas, appeared in court Tuesday night to answer for his crime, taking advantage of a lonely 63-year-old woman.
The victim says Azuonwu reached out to her on Instagram and she truly believed she was talking to the 10-time Grammy Award winner.
Court documents say Azuonwu impersonated Bruno Mars between September and October 2018 to pretend that he had fallen in love with the woman. Eventually, their relationship moved off of Instagram and they chatted via text message.
He allegedly led her to believe that he wanted to quit the tour he was currently on, presumed to be the 24K Magic World Tour that ran until December 2018, but needed help to pay off “tour expenses.”
Authorities say Azuonwu first asked the victim to write out a $10,000 check to a “friend of the band,” of which she complied. Two days later, he asked for more money — $90,000.
The money was split between the Azuonwu and accomplice, Basil Amadi‘s accounts. When authorities acted on a warrant to look into the accounts, they found all the money had been withdrawn.
Both men have been charged with money laundering, a third-degree felony.
Azuonwu is being held on $30,000 bond, as stated by Harris County Probable Cause Court.
The identity of his victim was not disclosed.