He posed as an oil executive from Conshohocken, heading to Nigeria to start an oil company, and he needed help getting the business off the ground.
Wooing her with phone calls, text messages and flowers, the ersatz suitor eventually persuaded her to invest more than half a million dollars in his fictitious oil rig, Santa Clara County prosecutor Cherie Bourlard said Wednesday.
But she said the case should serve as a warning to others not to loan or invest money with anyone from a dating website.
Older people are particularly vulnerable, she said, because “studies show the ability to make financial decisions is the first to be affected by aging.” “It’s too easy to create a false identity or steal someone else’s identity and use it on an online dating site,” she said.
The bank wired the money back to the woman, but the suitor is still at large, free to troll other the web for victims.
“What’s a miracle about this,” she said, “is anyone got caught.” Contact Tracey Kaplan at 408-278-3482.