My story started on I really wasn’t looking for love as much as friends to meet locally and enjoy lunch and movies and hang out.

Before too long, a man from another state approached me and wanted to know me. I read his profile and he sounded like a good guy with similar interests as mine so we became a match. We communicated through Match for a couple of weeks and then decided to exchange emails and continue to get to know each other.

He told me that he is a Mechanical Engineer and that he is a widower and has a 16-year-old daughter. He had lost his wife in a car accident five years earlier while she was visiting her family in France. His daughter longed for a family and a mom as she is 16 and couldn’t talk to him about teenage girl stuff. He said that due to the type of job he had, it took him away from her, and he would be gone several weeks at a time so his daughter lived with his 86 year old mom in Ohio where his daughter also went to private school.

Another week goes by, and he leaves for an oil rig in the Beaufort Sea where he would be finishing a project and he would retire. He said he worked for EXXON MOBILE for 20 years but decided to become a contractor so he would have more retirement. He wanted us to meet at the end of the project, rent an apartment nearby where I live, get to know each other and if we liked each other, he would have his daughter meet me as now she is excited that her dad has finally met someone. He told me that he wanted someone to travel with and to enjoy fun with the rest of his life. By this time, I’m thinking how really great this is to meet this great guy that loves his mother so much and will do anything for his daughter’s happiness. Plus he enjoys so many of the same things that I do….Wow, like he said, God brought us together; there are no accidents.

He was so sweet he called me every morning and sang “You Are My Sunshine” and how much he really hoped I would become part of his life. He called or texted me throughout the day just to say he was thinking of me, even though he was in a meeting or working.

One day he was on a boat, and as he was taking a selfie of himself, his wallet fell into the sea. He lost everything, including all his credit cards, all his cash, and his driver’s license. He called me and explained what happened and that he was in shock and didn’t know what he was going to do. Shortly after this, he said he was so angry that he smashed his iPhone. So now he has a cheap phone but can still call and send messages. He can’t video chat as there is no internet on the rig which by the way we never did.

Things went downhill rapidly for him. First, he asked if I would send money for an iPhone and I said no….this is just the beginning. When the workers find out he has no way of paying them, the supervisor takes his passport so he can’t leave the rig, or more importantly, leave the country. I felt so horrible for this poor man who wanted to be with his 86 year old mother who was in and out of the hospital and so sorry for his daughter who was alone. So this is when I started sending him cards so he could at least get his main workers to hotel onshore. A visa gift card so he could continue to call his family and me.

He can’t pay his workers…….the money and his retirement account are in the UK in a SA account worth over $12,000,000. He asks me to help and he gives me his information to access this account. I am to transfer $2,000,000 to his supervisor so he can pay his employees and finally leave the rig. By this time, he is so stressed he is in the hospital with chest pain and high blood pressure. Now, I have seen this account so I know it is real. I see all his past transactions and all in large amounts for payment of past projects.

So, I say ok; I will be happy to help him out. He sends me a copy of his passport and all his info to logon to this account. Well, wouldn’t you know that he can’t get his money because he owes back taxes plus penalties to the UK. The fine is $200,000 to have his funds released. So his mom and I each send $100,000. Funds are released. I was sent through email the judgment of the high court in the UK that he satisfied the penalty. I saw it. I saw the signatures and I saw the official seal. Great right? Not so fast……

He asked that the $12,000,000 be transferred to my bank account and I said that I would need to talk to my attorney as I don’t deal with large sums as this….ever!! He says not to worry; he has an attorney he has used for years to help with his business, and he would get in contact with him. The attorney emails me and states that he will speak to the bank and send a letter that the money is legal and not a fraud.

Sounds good to me, so let us move on!! Oh no! not another tax issue!! Yep, there is. Now the IRS has frozen his assets and he can’t get his money until $423,000 in penalties and back taxes are paid…. I saw an official letter. I saw the judgment so I believed it was real. He has only until December 20, 2019, to make the payment. By this time, I’m so stressed out I can’t sleep, I can’t eat, and I feel guilty. Why? Because his mom is back in the hospital, his daughter starts emailing me saying how sad and alone she is and she needs her dad home because Grandma is so sick. He is sick and in and out of hospital too. OMG, what terrible luck this poor man is having, and I feel so sorry for his daughter. And yes, all this time he sends pics of himself in the hospital.

His mom gets out of the hospital and sells one of his cars for $60,000 and takes out a loan on her house for 150,000. His attorney also makes a payment. His other car is up for sale, and so again, he asks me for more money. By this time, I am running out of money but he begs and so I give in and take out a personal loan of $70,000. All this money I have given to him, by the way, has been cashiers checks and have gone to domestic checking accounts. Now he is just $83,000 short and so he asks me to make this payment. When I say no, as I have no more money, his whole personality changes, he yells, he calls me names and tells me to take out a loan on my house and sell my car. Well, I can say I didn’t take out a loan on my house, and I didn’t sell my car.

WOW, the light finally comes on and I wake up. I then realized I had been scammed. I am out over $270,000 which I am coming to terms that I will never see again. I reported him to the IC3 and left nothing out in the report. I’ve learned terms I never knew existed such as Money Mules. These are the people I sent my money to. Nigerian Scammers, why would I know about these animals?

I feel so ashamed, embarrassed, and know I’m an intelligent woman, so how could I be so stupid. I isolate myself. My daughter would call and ask if I’m ok but she knows I’m not even though I say I am. My financial advisor who is a friend of my son, calls my son and hints that I have taken out large sums of money from my retirement, and he is concerned. My son and daughter confront me and I confess.

So now, on top of how horrible I’m already feeling about myself, I lose the respect of my family, and my self-respect.I’ve joined a group of caring women that are helping me to understand what happened to me. I can talk to others that have been in this same hell; they understand how I’m feeling and no one judges. I thank God he answered my prayers.

I only hope that my experience will help others. Please be safe and guard your heart.