⚫ A retired teacher thought he was speaking with a famous actress

⚫ Police say the relationship shifted into threats from the "FBI"

⚫ It's believed the extortion led to the victim's suicide

Two Piscataway residents have been charged in connection with an alleged romance scam that targeted a 74-year-old man.

Authorities learned about the malicious online activity after the victim had already taken his own life.

Chinagorom Onwumere, 34, and Salma Abdalkareem, 27, are each charged with extortion, financial exploitation of an elderly/vulnerable person, criminal impersonation, and theft over $60,000.

The pair duped the elderly Tennessee resident out of about $100,000, according to documents obtained by The Daily Beast. Onwumere and Abdalkareem pretended to be a "well-known famous actress" and formed a relationship with the victim, with photographs sent back and forth.

The scam

The fake relationship took off in August of this year, officials said. And on Oct. 1, the victim began receiving emails that purported to be from the FBI — the victim was being informed that he was being targeted in a sexual harassment lawsuit due to his conversations with the celebrity.

The victim was told he had to pay fines in order to have the case resolved out of court, according to officials. Over the next few days, the victim sent personal checks to different addresses, as he was directed to do via email.

In one instance, he was scolded by the scammers for writing "Agent" on one of the checks, and he was told he had to pay a $40,000 fine for failing to follow directions. The next day, the victim traveled to his bank to generate a cashier's check for $41,000.

At one point, he took a $25,000 loan out against his vehicle through his bank, documents said.

An investigation tied Onwumere and Abdalkareem to the online scheme, through addresses and bank accounts. And, according to case documents, the pair was seen on surveillance video depositing one of the man's checks at Navy Federal Credit Union in Colts Neck. According to The Daily Beast, Onwumere is a member of the Army National Guard.

Victim dies by suicide

The elderly scam victim — a retired teacher — died on Oct. 23. Authorities responded to a shooting and found the man deceased due to an apparent gunshot wound to the head. The death was later ruled a suicide.

A couple days later, the family of the deceased man brought his electronic tablet to police due to emails they had discovered.

An officer indicated in case documents that he believes it was the extortion by the New Jersey pair that led to the man's suicide.

According to police, both suspects admitted to receiving the checks, but they had conflicting stories regarding what the checks were for — neither story referenced an online relationship.

Onwumere and Abdalkareen were extradited to Tennessee following their arrests. A preliminary hearing for Onwumere and Abdalkareen is scheduled for Nov. 30, according to the Washington County Sheriff's Office in Tennessee.

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