In March, three years ago, a man who claimed to be a U.S. Army captain stationed in Syria became pen pals with a Japanese woman on an international dating site. Weeks later, their relationship grew, and they ended up “dating online”. He claimed his name was Terry Garcia and he frequently asked for a lot of money, equaling a total of 200,000 dollars that she had borrowed from friends, her ex-husband and many other relatives in order to keep her relationship going.
Unbeknownst to FK (as the courts identified the woman), Mr. Garcia was not a real person, and it ended up being discovered that two Nigerian men running an international online scam in Los Angeles with the help of associates in Nigeria and other countries.
This Thursday, U.S. prosecutors found and charged 80 people, the most being Nigerians, with running a conspiracy that ended up fraudulently scamming money that they had tracked up to at least six million dollars primarily from vulnerable elderly women and businesses.
17 people have been arrested in the United states out of those 80, and federal investigators are working with other countries in order to track down the rest of them in Nigeria and other nations.
The relationship between FK and Garcia had been done on a Yahoo e-mail address with no phone calls. The man told her she wasn’t able to use the phone in Syria and that he’d found a bag of diamonds and needed her help to smuggle it out of the country. He had been injured and couldn’t do it himself, but he would facilitate the transfer of them. One e-mailer said they were a Red Cross diplomat, another claimed to work for a shipping company, and even more additional e-mailers ended up stating multiple reasons the diamonds were stuck at customs, asking her to pay up to 35 or 40 payments over a 10-month period.