Chinwendu Azuonwu Biography Chinwendu Azuonwu Wiki
- Chinwendu Azuonwu, 39, appeared in Houston Tuesday after he and Basil Amadi, 29, were charged with money laundering.
- Harris County prosecutors said the two men cheated on a 63-year-old woman out of $ 100,000 after making her believe they were Bruno Mars.
- The woman communicated with men online using Instagram and Google Hangouts and planned to speak with the eleven Grammy Award winner.
- Investigators said the woman fell in love with Mars and believed he would withdraw from his concert tour to be with her.
- “Mars” also asked the woman to deposit $ 100,000 in bank accounts to help the singer cover the cost of the tour.
- If convicted, two men will be in state prison for between two and ten years. Azuonwu’s bond issue was set at $ 30,000. No information was available on Amadi’s arrest
A 63-year-old Texan woman was betrayed for $ 100,000 in a cat fishing scam that led her to believe she was dating pop star Bruno Mars.
Alleged con artist Chinwendu Azuonwu, 39, a Nigerian citizen and permanent resident of Houston, appeared in court Tuesday and was charged with impersonating Mars on Instagram as part of the scam to defraud the victim out of his savings.
Houston man Chinwendu Azuonwu has been charged with money laundering in connection with an Instagram romance scam that allegedly involved posing as singer Bruno Mars to take $100,000 from a north Texas woman. https://t.co/k6vG5lZ2mf
— ABC 7 Chicago (@ABC7Chicago) February 10, 2021
Azuonwu, who is charged with third-degree money laundering, was arrested this week, KPRC-TV reported.
In court documents, his co-conspirator was identified as Basil Amadi, 29. Information on Amadi’s arrest files was not available Wednesday morning.
The victim, a resident of North Richland Hills, Texas, told police in 2018 that she had created an Instagram profile “looking for a business.”
She then got in touch with someone online claiming to be Mars. During those interactions on Instagram and Google Hangouts, the woman told investigators that she had “fallen in love” with the person she thought was Mars.
Also, “Mars” told the woman that he intended to finish her tour so he could be with her.
The woman told police that she believed she was contacting the 11th Grammy Award winner at the time after receiving text messages showing Mars on tour.
In September 2018, “Mars” asked the woman to send him a check for $ 10,000 to cover travel expenses, police said.
The woman agreed. She went to a Wells Fargo Bank branch in North Richland Hills and collected a cashier’s check to pay it to “Basil Chidiadi Amadi,” a person she refers to as “the friend of the group.”
The woman deposited the check into a JPMorgan Chase account.
Two days later, the woman was contacted by “Mars” who asked for an additional $ 90,000 but did not explain why.
Then the woman returned to her bank and cashed a cashier’s check to pay “Chi Autos” – “at the request of” Mars. ”
The second check was transferred to a separate bank account at JPMorgan Chase on September 14, 2018, investigators said.
Investigators tracked down bank documents and located the two JPMorgan Chase accounts in Azuonwu and Amadi.
They then checked their names against the licensee’s database and found their photos.
According to the Harris County Prosecutor’s Office, Azuonwu admitted to having one of the bank accounts in question, despite denying ever knowing Amadi.
He also said that he did not know how $ 90,000 was deposited into his account, according to the criminal complaint.
Amadi also told investigators that he did not know Azuonwu. He also could not explain the origin of the $ 10,000 payment that was listed on his bank statements.
Azuonwu’s bond issue was set at $ 30,000.
If all are found guilty, they face two to ten years in prison.