A man who allegedly posed as Bruno Mars is being accused of convincing an elderly woman to give him $100,000.
Per KTRK-TV, Houston resident Chinwendu Azuonwu was charged last month with third-degree felony money laundering after he was linked to a scheme targeting a 63-year-old north Texas woman. The outlet reports he was taken into custody last week.
According to charging documents, the woman created an Instagram account years ago in search of companionship.
She told investigators that a man allegedly pretending to be the “Uptown Funk” singer reached out to her and said he was interested in pursuing a meaningful relationship.
Legal papers say the woman fell in love with the account and believed he was Mars as he would send her texts and photos of the artist on tour. The woman also told investigators that the account said he wanted to quit the tour to be with her.
However, things took a turn when the account allegedly asked the woman to write a $10,000 check to a "friend of the band" for "tour expenses." Two days later, the account allegedly asked her to withdraw more funds — another $90,000.
Per documents, each amount was deposited in separate accounts, which were each held by Azuonwu and alleged accomplice Basil Amadi.
After investigators obtained warrants to search the accounts, they reportedly discovered a $90,000 deposit in Azuonwu's account, which was later found to be withdrawn down to a zero balance.
Investigators then separately interviewed Azuonwu and Amadi. While Amadi said he knew Azuonwu, Azuonwu claimed he did not know Amadi or the reason behind the $90,000 withdrawal.
Ultimately, both men were charged with money laundering, with Azuonwu's bail set at $30,000.