Woman who thought she was dating singer Bruno Mars scammed out of $130,000

Woman who thought she was dating singer Bruno Mars scammed out of $130,000
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A Texas woman was scammed out of $100,000 (NZ$138,625) after being led to believe she was dating singer Bruno Mars and paying for his tour costs.

Alleged scammer Chinwendu Azuonwu, 39, appeared in court last Tuesday (local time) on charges of third-degree felony money laundering after scamming the victim out of her savings, KPRC-TV reports.

The 63-year-old woman told police she created an Instagram in 2018 "in search of companionship." Soon after she met Azuonwu, a Nigerian national living in Houston Texas, who was claiming to be the Grammy award-winning singer and continued their romance on Google Hangouts. 

The woman told investigators she soon fell in love with who she thought was Mars.

In September, 2018, Azuonwu asked the woman to send $10,000 (NZ$13,862) to cover "touring expenses", police said.

The woman agreed and withdrew a check made out to Azuonwu's accomplice "Basil Chidiadi Amadi", who he described as a "friend of the band", according to investigators.

Two days later, he asked her for another $90,000 (NZ$124,762) but did not explain what this was for.

The woman agreed and withdrew the check made out to an account named "Chi Autos" at Azuonwu request.

Investigators traced both accounts back to Azuonwu and Amadi.

Azuonwu's bail is $30,000.

Azuonwu admitted to prosecutors that he owned one of the bank accounts involved but denied knowing Amadi. 

Amadi also denied knowing Azuonwu but couldn't explain the $10,000 deposited into his account.

If the pair are found guilty, they could face between two to 10 years' jail time.