Three Russian women were detained by local police for allegedly scamming ISIS militants into sending them money to be flown into Syria after claiming they wanted to be their brides.
The Chechen women said they were contacted by ISIS recruiters online, and continued to carry the conversation with them, eventually telling the recruiters that they would be willing to join their ranks if their travels were paid for, according to Life News. Fake social media accounts were set up by the girls, from which they conducted their scheme, complete with expressing a false interest in Islam--a sure method to catch the attention of ISIS recruiters.
One of the three girls, Maryam, has conned at least three men into giving her money by lying and saying it was to cover the travel expenses. In her first encounter with an ISIS recruiter, Maryam was asked to join the militant group in Syria--a discussion pushed by the recruiter.
"I replied that I had no money to go there," Maryam told Life News. "Then he suggested for the first time that he could send me money."
After the first incident, Maryam continued to create fake profiles, eventually initiating the conversation around funding a one-way ticket to Syria. "I have no money to buy decent clothes, not to mention a plane ticket," she says in a text to a recruiter. "What should I do, brother?" By creating fake profiles and blocking the recruiters they've been communicating with, the three girls reportedly managed to amass close to #3,300, according to The Daily Beast.
The women were eventually caught by a Chechen online monitoring team and were later charged with fraud, a penalty that could land them up to six years in jail. “I don’t recall any precedent like this one in Chechnya, probably because nobody digs deep enough in that direction,” Valery Zolotaryov, an online crimes officer, said to a local newspaper, according to Russia Today. “Anyhow, I don’t advise anyone to communicate with dangerous criminals, especially for grabbing quick money.”
In spite of the charges, officials will likely not take further action, and might drop the charges altogether.
"There needs to be a complaint from the other side," a spokesman said, according to The Daily Mail. "And it doesn't seem as though this is going to be likely."