COLUMBUS, Ohio — The government says eight people have been charged with laundering money obtained from online romance scams based in Ohio.

Federal prosecutors say the individuals created false profiles on online dating sites including and and contacted men and women across the U.S. on the pretense of starting romantic relationships.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Columbus said Tuesday the defendants would eventually request money for investments, often involving gold, diamond, oil and gas pipeline opportunities in Africa.

The government says victims wired tens of thousands of dollars to the suspects.

An indictment alleges the defendants often used money to buy salvaged vehicles online which were then exported to Ghana.