Irvine man accused of $1 million romance scam.
An Irvine man accused of defrauding former romantic partners and friends of more than $1 million is facing federal charges.
Ze’Shawn Stanley Campbell, 33, has been charged with wire fraud, bank fraud, money laundering and aggravated identity theft for alleged “romance scams” he is accused of running over the course of six years, according to an indictment unsealed on Wednesday.
According to the indictment, Campbell either befriended or carried out romantic relationships with at least 10 people whom he lied to in order to convince them he was “wealthy, reliable and successful.”
Campbell would tell them he had millions in dollars in various bank accounts, prosecutors allege, then show them false bank statements to back up the lies.
Prosecutors allege that Campbell also claimed to be a successful businessmen, lying about owning a lucrative chain of gyms in Texas, several McDonald’s restaurants, a security business with military connections and a home renovation business.
Campbell also falsely claimed to be a Navy SEAL with time served in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to the indictment, and claimed to be a successful bitcoin investor.
Once he gained their trust, prosecutors say, Campbell would ask his friends or romantic partners for money.
According to the indictment, Campbell in some instances asked for a loan to pay for what he claimed were medical bills, invest in real estate or bitcoin or to cover business expenses. Prosecutors allege he convinced the people he was asking the money from to pull funds from their retirement or bank accounts, and signed fraudulent statements promising to pay them back.
Campbell instead used the money to “buy luxury items for himself, make payments on cars leased and purchased in victims’ names, pay personal debts and for other personal expenses,” according to the indictment.
If someone refused to give him money or cut off the funds, prosecutors allege Campbell would apply for loans and credit cards in their name, without their knowledge.
According to the indictment, at least 10 people in Orange and Los Angeles counties suffered more than $1 million in losses.
Campbell was arrested on March 6 at the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, where he was returning from an international flight, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. He made an initial court appearance in Texas, and is expected to be taken to Los Angeles for an arraignment and detention hearing.