A Houston man appeared in court this week, accused of impersonating Bruno Mars on Instagram to romance a woman and scam her out of $100,000.
According to ABC30, Chinwendu Azuonwu was charged with third-degree felony money laundering last month, though he was recently taken into custody. The catfish incident happened between September and October 2018, after a person pretending to be the “24K Magic” singer reached out to a 63-year-old north Texas woman via Instagram.
The woman told police that the fraudulent Mars made her believe he was interested in pursuing a relationship with her, and she subsequently fell in love with whom she thought was the real singer. She also told investigators that the account convinced her of its authenticity by sending her a number of texts and photos from tour, telling her that he wanted to quit the tour to be with her.
Soon enough, the fake account asked the woman for a $10,000 check to a “friend of the band” for “tour expenses,” and two days later, asked for $90,000, according to ABC30.
Each amount was deposited in separate accounts, owned by Azuonwu and an alleged accomplice, Basil Amadi. Both men were charged with money laundering, and Azuonwu’s bail was set at $30,000.