The retired Sodus man, in his 60s and a Newark girl, age 23, were both lonely, and yet capable of using the internet to search of love. Both cases are uniquely different, yet similar, both resulted in different ends. One lost his life savings of $86,000, the other faces charges involving the theft of $2,200.
The Sodus man hooked up with what he thought was a Russian girl, attempting to escape the clutches of a harsh society. Long e-mails back and forth built up what the Sodus man thought was a loving relationship.
Only after a period of time, and gaining the Sodus man’s trust, did the question of money arise. The girl needed money to pay off local officials to make her exit from Russia. The love-struck Sodus man insisted he could help and the money transfers began.
No sooner did the fake Russian girl’s lengthy pay-off from Russia reach completion, then she found herself in Spain, the victim of more corrupt government officials blocking her path to her beloved Sodus man. More money would be needed.
Of course, when U.S. government officials were detaining and threatening to hold the closer-than-ever mock girl, the request came for more money to make a hefty bail.
The Sodus man’s bank called police after noticing the drain on his savings. Even Western Union, the primary money transfer path for most scams, refused to accept any more of the Wayne County man’s money.
The Sodus man insistently continued his drive to save and unite with the love of his life. Police met with the man, as did federal investigators, each telling him his Russian love never existed and he was a victim of a scam.
The retired Sodus man, even though already investing $86,000 chasing his elusive Russian woman, still continues to seek out his dream girl. Local police are frustrated. “He is out all that money and still lonely,” said the Investigator.
Police were able to change the man’s online account, but believe he will still try to reconnect and continue his quest. “He does not believe us that this is a nationwide scheme,’ added the Investigator last week.
The second scam involves a female victim in Jersey City, New Jersey. Frustrated, the woman called Newark Village Police Investigator Gary VerStraete back in July. Someone in the Newark area had gotten hold of a credit/debit card in the woman’s name and had been draining her account. It started with four withdrawals of $400 each, another for $200, and another again for $400. In all, $2,200 had been taken, leaving the New Jersey woman wondering how it happened.
The New Jersey woman still had her credit/debit card in her possession, so how did the six withdrawals from a ESL ATM (Automatic Teller Machine) in Newark happen.
It began when someone posing as the woman called her bank requesting a new card be issued, to a new address. Somehow the thieves obtained card information. Once the new card was issued, the next phase of the crime commenced.
Katelyn Reuter, age 23, lives with her parents on Newark Marion Road in Marion. She too told police she was searching the internet for her one true love. She met a man online and after a time, a connection was made.
The man told her he was living in Nigeria and unable to access his bank funds while overseas. He sent Rueter the New Jersey woman’s credit/debit card, instructed her to withdraw the funds and keep $250 for her efforts. The rest of the money was sent by moneygrams to an address in Nigeria.
Investigator VerStraete worked with the bank videos to finally identify Reuter. Once in custody, Reuter fully cooperated with police, producing not only the withdrawal receipts, but two more stolen cards she had received from the mysterious Nigerian.
Reuter was charged with Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the 4th Degree and Grand Larceny in the 4th Degree.
It is unknown whether Reuter was love struck and dumb, or a willing participant in the crimes.