We've got some bizarre news for you today, folks. And it involves catfishing. And Bruno Mars. The thought of pretending to be another person online just honestly sounds like a waste of a lot of energy and just straight-up weird! But also the idea of someone falling for a catfish is just... something else, especially if a person said they were a very famous celebrity.
It's not impossible for a celeb to be online to meet new people, but it strikes many red flags, right? Well for one human in this world, it didn't. And they really thought they were communicating with Bruno Mars.
A Bruno Mars catfish scammed a woman out of $100,000.
Between September and October of 2018, a 63-year-old Texas woman met a man via Instagram who she thought was Mars. She says that she was on the app looking for companionship. A person pretending to be the singer reached out to her and made her believe that they were interested and wanted to pursue a romantic relationship. Yeah, we're confused too...
It all gets even more sketchy though! The woman says that she actually fell in love with "Bruno Mars" from getting to know each other through Insta. They had apparently created a bond and the fake Mars had allegedly "proved" that he was actually the musician on multiple accounts. He had apparently sent the woman multiple believable texts and pictures of himself on tour. She even says that he told her he wanted to leave tour to be with her. To note: Bruno was actually on his 24K Tour during this time.
The part where things really started to get suspicious was when the person impersonating Mars had asked the woman to write a check for $10K because a person on his team had needed it for "tour expenses."(You'd think that someone with his status and fortune would easily be able to give that kind of money, especially to someone that worked with him??) Oh, and it gets worse. The Bruno fraud then asked for $90K, ABC30 reported. She fulfilled each of his desires and gave "Bruno Mars" $100K in total.
The Bruno Mars scammer has since been charged.
Warrants were made out to investigate the bank accounts that the large sums of money were transferred to (the woman was ordered to send them to two different ones) and they belonged to Chinwendu Azuonwu and Basil Amadi. During the investigation, the $90K that was in Amadi's account was sent to Azuonwu's, but then was withdrawn, which left the whole account with a balance of zero.
Both men have been charged with third-degree felony money laundering. Azuonwu and Amadi's relationship is unclear — Amadi states that he knows Azuonwu, but Azuonwu insists that he doesn't know Amadi or how $90K was withdrawn from the account. Azuonwu appeared in court on Feb. 9, 2021 where he was officially taken into custody for his 2018 crime.
ABC13 has released a video of Azuonwu in court that you can see for yourself. Anybody else just sitting here with their mind exploding right now?