An elderly woman was left without a cent after getting scammed by a 26-year-old con artist who stole another person’s identity before making her fall for him.
69-year-old Laura Francis from California, who was never married in her life, was over the moon when she met a 26-year-old man from Nigeria who pretended to be a Marine who was deployed on a secret mission by the military.
The Nigerian, whose real name is Dom, also stole the identity and pictures of David Hodge to convince the woman he was a real combat medic helping injured troops in North Korea.
Weeks into their romance and their chats via Google Hangouts, the con artist convinced the woman he needed money – and lots of it – saying he didn’t have access to his bank accounts in North Korea before insisting he would pay her back once he returned to the States.
Smitten by her love for the scammer, the woman sent the man thousands of dollars through cryptocurrency apps including Coin Cloud and Coin Base.
As Laura revealed, she didn’t question the man’s motives at first because he was requesting small amounts at a time. Later, when she grew suspicious of his continuous requests, the man also sent over fake bank statements claiming he had $3 million in his US bank account to put her worries at ease.
Eventually, the couple got engaged and the woman sent her lover $42k to cover the cost of the engagement ring after he promised he would be released from his military contract once he proved they were engaged.
“I wanted to believe all the b******t – how much he loved me and that he was so happy he had me in his life. I believed in him,” Laura said.
After growing skeptical of her love interest, Francis started talking with another man, who claimed to be Robert Manguire. The man offered to help her expose her boyfriend by hacking into his computer.
“I felt that I could trust Robert because he was the one who told me that David Hodge was really Dom. I told him how much I had spent,” the woman added.
“I did what Robert told me to do. I blocked David and reported his account and then took it down.”
The man who claimed to be Manguire then told the 69-year-old that he contacted the military to tell them that Hodge was sharing classified information.
After being told that the man she was supposed to marry faced charges for espionage, Francis panicked and paid $60,000 to ‘bail him’ out.
In the meanwhile, Manguire promised to get the money she had sent via Bitcoin apps back by putting more money into her account.
“He was showing me all the screenshots of the of the money he was getting back. He had me running back and forth. I kept on giving him more money to get all the money out of the account – a total of $159,400,” Francis explained.
After the scam was complete, the man Francis was talking to disappeared without a trace and the woman realized she was scammed not once but twice.
Not only did Francis’ hopes for finding love shattered into pieces when the truth came out but she also lost a total of $250,000 that was intended as her daughter’s inheritance.
“It was all a lie. They were working together. They put the whole scam together from the beginning,” Francis concluded.
“It’s really painful because I really cared for the guy. I was in love with David and I was devastated.”
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