An Albany man has been ordered to pay hefty fines for his part in catfishing women for cash.

You hear about these stories all the time, but never think it can happen to you. Lonely women looking for love are easy targets for scam artists looking to exploit their romantic feelings. After flirting online, these con men find ways to exploit their targets, playing to their emotions and fooling them into sending expensive gifts or cash payments.

27-year-old William Y. Asiedu from Albany was sentenced on Thursday after pleading guilty for participating in a plan to seduce women and trick them into draining their bank accounts. Asiedu worked with co-conspirators in Ghana to create fake online profiles and posting them on dating websites. The criminals would then romance women and con them into sending money.

Two women from Arizona and Switzerland sent almost half of a million dollars to bank accounts to an account created by Asiedu. The women thought they were sending the money to help out someone they were romantically talking to online, but they were actually involved with fake profiles. Instead of going to online lovers, like the women thought, the money was actually going to scam artists in Ghana. Asiedu kept up to 10 percent of the stolen money for himself before transferring money from the account to Ghana.

Asiedu was given 3 years of supervised release and has been ordered to pay $445,333 in restitution. $9,799 seized from Asiedu during his arrest has also been forfeited and the scammer will need to perform 100 hours of community service.