Internet Dating and Romance Scams

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Conned out of £80,000 ..by a lover who didn’t even exist

EXCLUSIVE I WAS LONELY AND HE SEEMED SO NICE TRAGIC VICTIM OF INTERNET ROMANCE FRAUDSTERS
By Gareth Morgan
Lonely divorcee Kerry Day thought she had found the man of her dreams when she met American hunk Tony Wright on a dating website.

He wooed her with red roses every day, wrote her love poems and promised to marry her when he came to Britain.

But Kerry’s new-found happiness turned to horror when she discovered “Tony” didn’t EXIST – and that she had been set up by an international fraud gang who conned £80,000 from her.
Kerry, 50, lost her life savings, her job and will soon have no house after falling for the elaborate sting which is believed to have snared dozens more women across Britain.

Last week Michael Friskey, 40, was jailed for three years for his part in the scam but the masterminds are still free.

Kerry, who tried to kill herself after discovering she had been duped, said: “I can’t believe I was so foolish.

“Tony seemed such a nice and genuine guy. I fell in love with him quicker than I fell in love with my previous two husbands.

“He had our lives mapped out. He said I could go and live with him and his son in America. He was offering me everything I didn’t have – love, security and a family. I was very lonely and he pressed all the right buttons.

“Now I’m left with debts I’ll never pay off and all my life savings are gone. I was also asked to leave my job at a bank and I’m having to sell my house to survive.

It’s a nightmare.”

Kerry’s ordeal started in June 2007 after she bought a laptop to keep in touch with her sister in Crete. Feeling lonely, she thought she’d also use the inter net to find some male company.

And just days after joining the dating arm of Friends Reunited, she met “Tony”, who said he was a 49-year-old divorced dad in Minnesota.

Kerry said: “We clicked immediately and within a couple of hours we were talking online about everything.

“He said his son was in private education and that he was a mineral surveyor for the US government. We sent each other photos. He was so good looking. It was the first time in ages I felt attractive.”

For the next month, smitten Kerry chatted to “Tony” online every day. She tried to phone him but couldn’t hear him – supposedly due to a faulty line.

Kerry said: “He had been talking about flying me over to see him in the States so asked me to send over my driving licence and passport.

“I know alarm bells should have started ringing but he seemed genuine.

“Then he said he had to go to Saudi Arabia and would I visit him there instead? He said he would pay.

“But he then said that because of his diplomatic status his money hadn’t been cleared properly by officials and he asked me to send £3,000 for my flight and insurance and he’d give it back when he saw me. I had no hesitation and wired over the money. But then he said the insurance was higher because I was a woman going to Saudi Arabia so could I wire another £3,000?

“A day later he emailed saying he had to get back to the US and promised to come and see me on the way.

“But as he still couldn’t access his money, could I lend him £10,000? At the time it all seemed so feasible.”

Meanwhile ‘Tony” started sending Kerry poetry, calling her “Mrs Wright” and bombarding her with a dozen red roses every day for two weeks.

She said: “It was the most romantic thing anyone ever did for me.”

Then “Tony” cranked up the scam. He asked for £76,000 to cover the cost of a private jet from Saudi to the UK. Kerry sent the rest of her £35,000 savings – £19,000 – plus a £16,000 bank loan.

Claiming he was held up in Saudi, “Tony” arranged for an assistant to meet her at a hotel in London’s Canary Wharf to give her some cash back.

This man was Londoner Michael Friskey who told Kerry he had brought Û12.5million from Tony but there was a customs fee of £42,500. So Kerry handed over another loan for £30,000.

Friskey and an accomplice then turned up at her home in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, with a bag full of money but said the notes had diplomatic marks which could be erased with chemicals costing £50,000.

When Ker ry tried to raise another loan at the bank where she worked the manager realised she had been duped and called police.

Friskey pleaded guilty at Maidstone Crown Court, Kent, to fraud. Although “Tony” was based in the US, police think he could be part of a Nigerian crime network. The man and boy in the photo are unknown.

Judge Jeremy Carey said: “Miss Day was the victim of a very simple and alarmingly easy fraud. The impact on her was substantial.”

Kerry, who spent two days in hospital after a suicide attempt with tablets, said: “The judge got it spot on.”

The bank where she worked asked her to take early retirement because she handled large sums of cash.

Kerry said: “Financially I’m ruined – I have to pay £600 a month in loan repayments and I’m selling my house to help.

“But I am trying to rebuild my life. I have even met a newman online – although I haven’t told my relatives because they’d probably think I’m mad.”

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January 27, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , ,

3 Comments »

  1. been talking to a person who calls his self antony james on myspace,for about a week. this information is so simular to this scam add ,he shows a picture on yahoo of him and his son,i suspected he was fraudulent but didn’t have any proof,and then starts asking me to help him put money into my account to help him get back in the states! also going by antonio sabasten on yahoo from his credit card,of course i said i would not do that….

    Comment by kim p | September 18, 2009 | Reply

  2. my sister has a similar storyy met a guy months ago 6 exactbeen mailing each other back and forth this guy is suppose to be in love with her supposely has an 11 year old daughter is a mechanical engineer working for shell oil in nigeria africa told her he needed momey forcar repairs whichnext supposely needs money to cover cost of hotel bill personally I dont believe aany of it I am sure his picture is a fake it’s ofr a white man supposely from the us sounds nigerian t me hope this guys is soon caught

    Comment by leandrafrench | September 23, 2009 | Reply

  3. Like me u fell inlove,and did a very foolish thing.I hope u learn from this.GOD will bring u through this and these scrammers will be caught.

    Comment by teresa burton | April 9, 2011 | Reply


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