Three St. Louis residents are accused of scamming middle-aged and older women out of hundreds of thousands of dollars as part of what the U.S. Attorney's office in St. Louis called a "romance scam."

ST. LOUIS  — Three St. Louis residents are accused of scamming middle-aged and older women out of hundreds of thousands of dollars as part of what the U.S. Attorney's office in St. Louis called a "romance scam."

Federal prosecutors on Wednesday announced the indictments of 41-year-old Ovuoke Frank Ofikoro, 27-year-old Bonmene Sibe and 27-year-old Trenice Hassel. The U.S. Attorney's office said Ofikoro and Sibe targeted dozens of women across the U.S., and Hassel aided the scheme by fraudulently opening a post office box.

Court documents say the scheme began in May 2019. The suspects pretended to be high-ranking military officers deployed overseas and expressed romantic interest in women ranging in age from 45 to 82, federal prosecutors said.

They allegedly enticed women in states that included Hawaii, Illinois, Utah, Mississippi, Maryland and Florida to send money and electronic equipment, valued at more than $500,000, to St. Louis-are post office boxes.

Ofikoro and Sibe were accused of transferring some money to accounts in Nigeria.