I am the victim of a romance online scam. My name is Lynn, 58 years old, and practice as an advanced practice nurse, CRNA. I joined Zoosk online dating site back in 3/2017 after a break up from a boyfriend. Before this guy I didn’t date for 13 years and decided to pursue my career. I was just tired of trying and being hurt, so I met this man that I had dated for a year and a half in Target one day and it went from there. He was always traveling with his job and it just didn’t work out.
I met my scammer on 5/6/2017 on Zoosk and his name was Richard Alfredo, a gemstone dealer with a web site called gemmitstone. I had a separate e-mail account for online dating and gave it to him. He started with romantic enticement with the e-mails to string me along. I called his phone number from his website the following Friday after I met him on line. Now I know about the copying and pasting of love letters, poems, and such. The e-mails romantically entrapped me. Oh how sweet it was to be so in love again with all there syrupy words and letters he wrote. Before I knew it he would call me every morning as I woke up and there would be a text or a phone call every night before I went to bed, a text or phone call with my Queen, baby, darling, honey, because they can’t remember your name because they have so many scams going on.
I then downloaded WHATSAPP so we could talk for free and he wouldn’t burn up his phone card… now I know that is what they use. I remember when he told me he had to travel to Singapore to secure his order of gemstones. He sent his fake itinerary and his pic in the airplane. What a terrible picture, but I was in love so it didn’t matter. My gut lost out to the matters of the heart!. So while he is in Singapore he gets hit with all these fees, taxes, demerrhage, exports tax, & all his phony documents he would show me none the less that he had hit his 50,000.00 cash limit on his credit card. While he is supposedly in Singapore, he decides he is going to sue the Chin-Gem company and cancel his order. He travels to Malaysia where he has to sue the company and of course he needs money for lawyer fees.
In the meantime he is talking to a woman in Texas and he tells me she is an American woman that works @ Chin-Gem and is helping him out. He has me transfer money into an account that she has opened for him and he tells her it is from a military friend in South Carolina. By this time I am his fiancee’ along with everyone else. He gets to Malaysia, goes to court and wins. Now the Chin-Gem company pays him$ 2,000,000.00 to his checking account in Malaysia that the supposed lawyer helped him open 1,000,000 of his own and 1,000,000 awarded in court fees. So he shows his bogus checking account with his user name and password to sign in. He can’t get his money for some kind of banking fees to transfer overseas and shows me his phony document. I take out 2 loans to help my fiancee and have gotten cash advances on 2 credit cards nonetheless I have stopped taking money out of my pay check for retirement. I make decent money. After all the lies and money I have given this deceptive money molester as you call them, my sum was $47,000.00. I even opened a Bank account, sent him the bank card so he could withdraw money. Now as you have educated me in your book and radio talk shows, that is money laundering @ its finest! I was so oblivious to this.
I finally started to come to my senses when financial institutions refused to lend me anymore money and I have a good credit scores. God was trying to send me a wake up call. I had a friend whom I told her about him and that he had asked me for money. She went to his Facebook page, saw that he didn’t have any friends, but lots of likes by older women.She put out a message saying this guy was asking her friend for money and one woman came forward and told her the truth that he was a scammer.
In the meantime, he told me that he lived in Jacksonville Beach, Florida @ 14 Hopson Rd, which was the house he stole off the Internet for his Facebook page. I live in Charleston, SC and drove down there on 7/28/17 un benounced to find no Mercedes or BMW X-5 in the driveway. He even talked to me on the way down and cussed me out because I demand he come up on Skype or WHATSAPP video. His excuse was the camera is broken on my phone! I went up to the house and asked if Richard Alfredo lived there. The answer was “NO”, so I told the people who lived there that this man was using their house on his FaceBook page, gave them his phone# and e-mail. I drove back to Charleston that afternoon and night through thunderstorms and rain. The next day I had a 13 hour shift to pull on 4 hours sleep. I had in the meantime pulled $15,000.00 out my retirement for him, but put the brakes on that once his real identity was discovered.
I can’t tell you the shame, guilt, humility, and stupidity I felt from all this. Here we are 5 months later, I have a part-time job, work 55 hours a week, and have regained myself financially. I started to come back emotionally after listening to your radio shows as I was riding down the Interstate to my part-time job. You gave me my life and spunk back when you made me see that there is nothing wrong with me. I was a victim who fell prey to a predator because I was looking for my soulmate who romantically enticed and then entrapped me. I purchased your book “The Real Man behind the Screen.” What incredible insight you gave me and how the scamming world operates. I want to profusely say “Thank you so much!” for the research you have done and how you have helped me and many other online romance victims be it women or men.
I am actually in recovery from alcohol and addiction, so I started with loving myself again, not beating myself up anymore, and moving on with my life. I call it Poor Life Choices, but I always remember when God shuts one door another opens! I still have my life, happiness, laughter, job, & zest for life. I have been through events in my life worse than this and God has never let me down. I was definitely very much in love last summer and saw the world through rose colored glasses. I am very cautious in this internet connected world now. Your book so enlightened me. My ole scammer called me @ the end of November, he was asking for forgiveness. I called him out and he came clean with me and even video chatted with me, so I saw the real man behind the screen. I have ceased communication with him because I fully believe that once a scammer always a scammer! I refuse to be his or anybody else’s cash cow, walking ATM, or go to federal prison for money laundering.
Thanks so much, Diana Garren, you are a life saver and gave me what I needed to make a comeback to my ole self, In God’s name I pray for the healing hearts and financial losses of romance victims.