For Love or Money: Woman gets emotional after being scammed
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Retired nurse Linda , 64, was lonely and looking for companionship during her retirement. She joined a dating website and was contacted by a man who used a fake identity and alias ‘Richard Olsen Kendall’. They started a relationship and she eventually sent him over £36,000.
“I was very vulnerable and this support that I got was very welcome,” she said.
On the BBC programme For Love or Money today, Kym Marsh and Ashley John-Baptiste uncovered the truth about the so-called ‘Richard Olsen Kendal’ in an effort to help Linda draw a line under the horrific online romance fraud she had fallen victim to.
Linda explained that Richard claimed to be in the timber business. He was in America for work, completing his last project before retirement. He told her once he finished, he was coming to the UK.
After three months of getting to know each other, Richard claimed that his bank account had been hacked and asked Linda to loan him £1,000.
He told Linda she would get the money back in a month’s time so she lent him the money.
Claiming to prove that his account had been frozen due to a hack, Richard sent Linda documents of his account which also seemed to show his wealth, reassuring her she would get the money back.
He eventually asked her for more money. He told her that he needed £11,000 for repairs after a hurricane had cause damage to his project.
After increasing emotional pressure from Richard, Linda sent the money to him.
She said: “He used to send me Bible quotes and I’m a Christian. So he would say, ‘Well if you were a Christian woman, you would do this for me’ and ‘This is our life.’”
Linda claimed that Richard sent her a cheque worth £147,000. He sent this to reassure her that she would get her money back and supposedly to show he meant what he said, however he dated it two months in advance.
During these two months, Richard had asked Linda for another £20,000.
She continued: “I cannot even begin to explain the pressure that I felt, that I had to do this. The messages got quite unpleasant and I really felt that this was getting difficult.
“It was always with the promise of getting everything back and more.”
Linda did not have the £20,000 but she went to the bank to try and cash in the cheque Richard gave her. However they told her that the cheque was fraudulent.
Linda believed she had “Stockholm syndrome” as she was starting to have feelings for a person who had taken all her available money but she still believed that he would prove everyone wrong.
In total, Linda sent over £36,000 to Richard.
After investigating Linda’s case, Ashley found that Richard’s profile was in fact fake. The person behind the profile was a scammer.
He found that Richard was not registered as a tenant at the address he had given Linda. The number Linda had for Richard was a UK number so it suggests that the criminal was UK based.
The photographs he sent her of his job were stolen from other websites. He also sent her documents and a cheque which were proved to be doctored. They were fake.
Linda said: “I am crushed. It confirmed my fears and my thoughts and I feel that this journey that you’ve taken me on is quite cathartic and will help me get final closure.
“It will never ever leave me because of the impact that this has had on my retirement and therefore I have to manage my life without that money.”
She added: “It was life-changing money which I will never be able to recoup.
“The depth of the lie is so deep and sophisticated. These people need to be found and stopped and I want to stop others going through what I’ve been through. It’s so unfair. I don’t deserve that, no one deserves that.”
For Love or Money will continue tomorrow at 10am on BBC one.
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