Published January 16, 2014
A San Jose woman has been duped of $300,000 after falling for a Nigerian scam artist on the dating website ChristianMingle.com.
Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Cherie Bourlard said Wednesday that the man, posing as “David Holmes,” an Irish citizen working on a Scottish oil rig, wooed the 66-year-old woman with flowers, phone calls and text messages.
“You get the love drug in you and you end up getting duped,” Bourlard told CBS SF. “But they never met in person.”
The man – who, according to Bourlard, used a picture of a male model on his profile – convinced the woman to invest $500,000 into the fake oil rig.
She had to dip into her retirement account and refinance her house to afford the payments, the San Jose Mercury News reports.
The scammer was busted when his Skype and email addresses were traced back to Nigeria, Bourlard said.
The woman was able to recover $200,000 she wired to a Turkish bank after receiving help from the Santa Clara County district attorney's office.
A man named Wisdom Onokpite – an associate of the scammer who entered Turkey using a false passport – was arrested and jailed when he tried to withdraw the funds, Bourlard told the San Jose Mercury News.
The scammer is still at large.