Elderly man scammed out of life savings, loses $2 million to woman he met online

Elderly man scammed out of life savings, loses $2 million to woman he met online (WKRC)

CINCINNATI (WKRC) – It’s a story of betrayal and fraud as an elderly man falls victim to a woman he met online. He lost everything.

“If she could think of a lie to tell my Dad about why she needed money, she told it,” said Douglas Butler, son of an unfortunate victim of fraud.

Douglas is angry. His 80-year-old father lost his life savings, more than $2 million, to a woman he met online.

“She told him she needed the money for breast cancer surgery, to purchase a vehicle, to fix up her home and also to pay off debts, to leave her job and to be with him,” said Amy Kerkof, a US Postal Inspector.

“Dad's always managed his own money. He was very conservative, frugal and the idea that he was handed away money, $100,000 at a time, has never occurred to anyone,” said Kerkof.

Postal inspectors began tracking bank records, and found the suspect was spending the money on a new house, new equipment for her family farm and additional land.

“This case was very compelling and rather heartbreaking because the victim suffers from Alzheimer's and was so far gone that he didn't realize that he was a victim in this case,” said Kerkof.

Inspectors say con-artists often prey on the vulnerable and elderly.

“Currently, we are working on getting funds back to the victim. The farm equipment and other assets are being liquidated and we hope to recover funds to return to the victim's family so they can help pay for his medical care,” said Kerkof.

“To me, when someone steals everything from you, it's everything. It doesn't matter what the dollar amount is,” said Douglas.

Elderly people looking to get back in the dating pool are growing victims of online dating scams.

AARP says often online scammers make frequent spelling errors, use a fake photo, profess love too soon, often claim to be working overseas and they'll ultimately end up asking you for money.

One takeaway from this story is that it's not only important to keep tabs on what your children are doing online, but your parents as well.

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