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Desiree Boltos Targeted Older Adults in Her Romance Scams

The ‘Sweetheart Swindler' fabricated stories and used her children as pawns

spinner image Episode 35 - Sweetheart Swindler - Part 1

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spinner image If you look at my past, I could see why she got a hold of me. I'm known as the improbable millionaire. I made lots of money and was pretty generous with it when I had it.
Full Transcript

[00:00:00] Will Johnson: This week on AARP - The Perfect Scam.

[00:00:03] And I says, "Desiree," uh, I said, "You just stole my money." She was really kind of upset. "You can't write me a check for $10,000?" And I said, "No, I can't."

[00:00:16] Will Johnson: Welcome back to AARP - The Perfect Scam. I'm Will Johnson, your host, and I'm here with AARP's Fraud Watch Network Ambassador, Frank Abagnale. Frank, thanks for being here again.

[00:00:24] Frank Abagnale: Thank you, Will, thanks for having me.

[00:00:26] Will Johnson: And we're back with another romance scam this week, but it's got a lot of twists and turns that our listeners will find quite interesting. Frank, I want to ask before we get into it, uh, romance scams sometimes it could be a group of people who are working together, sometimes it could be a lone wolf, right? Somebody just doing it by themselves.

[00:00:40] Frank Abagnale: Absolutely. And most of the time it is a, a con man or con woman uh working alone, but sometimes they are connected with a small group of people or a large group of uh people who send them out, find the people for them to go take advantage of, and then they go out on that kind of mission to go do just that.

[00:00:57] Will Johnson: We will find out that this one is done uh, over the phone and then on text, and then in person, but romance scams, uh, could certainly be all of the above.

[00:01:07] Frank Abagnale: Yes.

[00:01:08] Will Johnson: Face to face, over the phone...

[00:01:09] Frank Abagnale: Face to face, yes.

[00:01:10] Will Johnson: I mean is there a different MO or it all involves the same sort of degree of, of uh, conning someone?

[00:01:16] Frank Abagnale: It's all to the same degree. I think the internet is the easiest way, because as we've talked about before, there's no emotion involved. And many times you never see the person, the person never sees you, uh and you're scamming this person basically online, and I think uh, that's where a lot of these are sometimes very bad, where people are very badly taken advantage of, mainly because the, the emotion side of it is, is gone, the human thought about it is gone.

[00:01:44] Will Johnson: Alright, Frank, we'll come back to you. First of all, I want to introduce part 1 of our two-part story this week, and a con woman known as Desiree Boltos.


[00:01:53] Will Johnson: We've talked to a lot of scam victims on our show; people who have lost their retirement nest eggs, some who've fallen in love only to learn it was all a scam, run of the mill email and internet scam victims, and massive Medicare fraud victims. They all have an important story to tell, and we owe them a huge thanks for being willing to share their stories, their pain, and sometimes very private aspects of their lives so that we, and you, can better understand and protect ourselves from scams and frauds. Jim Schmidt is one of those people, and to put it bluntly, he is a real character. He's the kind of guy I'd like to spend more time with actually, just listening to his stories, not just hearing about how he was scammed by a woman named Desiree Boltos.

[00:02:35] Jim Schmidt: If you look at my past, I could see why she got ahold of me, because you know, if you read articles, I'm known as the Improbable Millionaire, and I did make lots of money and I was pretty generous with it when I had it.


[00:02:51] Will Johnson: I like Jim; he's honest and straightforward, he tells it like it is. He has done a lot with his time on earth. He's made millions with real estate, and he's dabbled in restaurants and resorts among other things.

[00:03:02] Jim Schmidt: But I had lots of companies. I developed lots of properties, built lots of homes all over the West.

[00:03:09] Will Johnson: Jim talks about himself in the third person sometimes, and come from Jim, it's endearing. He's not bragging, just being himself.

[00:03:16] Jim Schmidt: Here's a guy that has helped a lot of people out and never worried, I've brought in lots of investors in my, in my businesses, and everybody always made money and I never worried about Jim Schmidt, I only worried about that uh everybody else came out on those investments.

[00:03:36] Will Johnson: Yeah.

[00:03:37] Jim Schmidt: It's kind of a me-me world out there, in case you didn't know, and most people know that uh it's really all about them, and me, it's all about you.

[00:03:46] Will Johnson: But when the real estate market tanked, Jim suffered losses. A lot of losses.

[00:03:51] Jim Schmidt: At the time this came down, I had lost all my money, I had lost like millions and millions and all my collection cars, seven houses, but I was literally as they call it, down and out in Beverly Hills; that was me. This is the rags to riches, riches, and I was in the rags when Desiree approached me.


[00:04:15] Will Johnson: In some ways, Jim was probably the perfect target for a scammer. He's generous, gives to charity, cares about other people, and at one point at least, had a lot of money. The silver lining here is that when Desiree Boltos comes into Jim's life, he really didn't have much to lose. He'd already lost it all. In fact, he was staying with a friend at the Carson River Resort. It's a place he bought 45 years earlier in the Lake Tahoe area.

[00:04:38] Jim Schmidt: I was at that resort in my, in a friend's motorhome that I had uh, that he gave me to stay in 'cause I had lost everything else.

[00:04:52] Will Johnson: So there's Jim living in a motorhome on the property of a resort he once owned. He's helping manage the place as a favor, when he gets a call from a woman named Desiree.

[00:05:01] Jim Schmidt: "Hi, this is Desiree, you remember me?" And I said, you know, "No, I don't," you know, as she said, "Well I was at your resort and I met you and you were such a nice guy and I've always thought about you and I wanted to come back and see you." Now understand in this, she thought that I was still the multimillionaire she read about, okay? So that's, okay, so she calls and then she sent me a picture. And I said, "Oh, she's pleasant." And I'm single at the time, still am, but I didn't have even a girlfriend, and she called and said, "I'd like to meet you." And I thought, boy, that's great, you know. I said, "Where are you?" And she says, "Well in Las Vegas." And I said, "Well,"... she said, "Well could I come up and see you?" And I said, "Yeah, just fly into the Reno/Tahoe Airport and I'll pick you up."

[00:05:56] Will Johnson: Yeah, why not? Sure. It would seem like kind of like a fun thing to do.

[00:05:59] Jim Schmidt: Yeah. Yeah, just meet somebody and she thought I was wonderful and had met me before, and, and I didn't remember but she sent a picture of herself and she looked pleasant and me, you know...

[00:06:10] Will Johnson: Desiree texted Jim again and said she'd be landing at 3 the next afternoon. He made plans to pick her up.


[00:06:18] Will Johnson: Did you tell anybody about it? Or did you keep it kind of just your, your...

[00:06:23] Jim Schmidt: No, no, I didn't, you know, I'm just, no, I just went to Reno, picked her up, and I told the people running the store, I'm running to pick up a friend of mine that met me here.

[00:06:37] Will Johnson: If you’re waiting for the plot to thicken, all our scam stories have that moment, here you go. Jim says before he went to the airport, he got a text that was supposed to go to Desiree's sister, or that's what she said.

[00:06:48] Jim Schmidt: And it said, "Sis," um, "I am doing another deal" uh, "and I want to know if you want in on it, because I'm going to see a, a very nice gentleman friend of mine that uh, and I talked to him about this investment." And, and then, so I got this as it was sent to her, but it really wasn't. It was sent to her sister and it was telling me that, you know, her sister, she said, "Sis, you know, you made a lot of money in my last investment, so I want to let you in on this if you want it." And then she texted me back right after that and says, "Oh, sorry, that went to her, that was meant for my sister. I'm sorry about that. It was a mistake." It wasn't a mistake.

[00:07:35] Will Johnson: But Jim believed her at the time. He didn't know it yet, but Desiree was laying the groundwork for her scam. She gets off the plane and Jim recognizes her right away from her picture.

[00:07:44] Jim Schmidt: She had a nice dress on. She looked like something that, you know, I could, uh, hang out with, yeah, without any doubt.

[00:07:53] Will Johnson: Jim and Desiree got back in his car and made the drive back to the Carson River Resort.

[00:07:57] Jim Schmidt: I asked her if there was anything she needed on the way home, 'cause I said, we have a little store, but I don't have much there. And we stopped at Walmart or someplace. She said, yeah, I need some eyeliner or something or this or that, and some peanuts, and I don't know. And it, we stopped and then went right to, went right to the resort, and uh, I brought her into the mobile home, and uh, and we were in there just chatting for a little bit.

[00:08:26] Will Johnson: Settling into the RV with Desiree, if Jim was expecting more of a personal connection, the conversation seemed to take an odd turn.

[00:08:33] Jim Schmidt: We're sitting there at the table and she said, uh, "You know, I have an investment I want to talk to you about." And uh I said, "Well what, what is it?" She said, "Well, I refurbish uh, hotels and casinos with all their furnishings." And she says, "Would you be interested in getting involved in uh, every time I do a project, we put all new furnishings and I just bring in a partner or two." And I said, "Gee, I'm not in any position to do that right now." I said, "I just, you know, just lost everything." I said, "I'm literally, I hate to tell you this, I'm embarrassed to tell you, but I'm, I'm broke. There's no doubt about it."

[00:09:20] Will Johnson: So it sounds like whatever research she had done on you, she, I wonder if she was hoping to show up and you'd be in some, you know, big fancy mansion or something, and not a...

[00:09:29] Jim Schmidt: Oh yeah, oh for sure. Yeah, oh yeah, 'cause my mansion, you can, I had one of the only houses you know partners with it and one of my houses was on Rich and the Famous with Robin Leach, you know. I had; I had a jet. I had 40 cars, you know, I could sit here and tell you all I had. I never had less than a half a million dollars in my checking, in my personal checking account.

[00:09:51] Will Johnson: So she walks into this situation and, and starts, it probably starts to dawn on her that you're, you're not living as quite as high on the hog as maybe you had been.

[00:10:00] Jim Schmidt: Correct. So she was, I could tell she was shocked, when I said, you know I'm embarrassed. This is who I am, and, and uh, you know of course she claimed she had met me there at the resort before. Well the resort doesn't have any mansions on it, it's got little cabins and stuff, and it's, she didn't meet me there. She made that up.


[00:10:23] Will Johnson: Were you taken aback that she was all of a sudden asking about investments?

[00:10:27] Jim Schmidt: Um, no, I was embarrassed that she, that I wasn't who she thought I was.

[00:10:33] Will Johnson: If Desiree had miscalculated Jim's wealth, she certainly wasn't going to waste her trip to Lake Tahoe, she dug in.

[00:10:39] Jim Schmidt: She said, "Well, maybe you can help me out on this." And I said, "What's that?" And she said, "I have a house in um, in Texas, in Dallas," and she said, "So I had this gal, she's been in there and, and she, I just found out she didn't pay the, she was supposed to pay the, the rent, but she made the payment on the house and they're ready to take the house from me." She said, "I've got to get them $10,000 like almost tomorrow." And I said, "Well," I said, "I can't get you $10,000." She said, she was really kind of upset, "You can't write me a check for $10,000?" And I said, "No. I can't. I'm sorry, but I'm just," you know, I was feeling bad.

[00:11:24] Will Johnson: But Jim, ever the generous guy and feeling sorry for her makes an offer.

[00:11:27] Jim Schmidt: I said, "I will, what did it cost you for the airline tickets to come up here, and I'll pay for your expenses knowing that you came here thinking that you were going to put a deal together and I wasn't able to do it." And she says, she handed me something and it was like $2200 or $2000 and I was thinking, gee. But to myself, from Vegas round-trip, that seems like a lot. I said, "Hey, no problem." And here's, here's the part. I had, I had sold my museum collection, the, the rest of the money I got from it was $15,000. And so I went in the back of the, we're sitting up in the front, in the coach. I go back and I get, go to my, my, right next to my bed, I had the $15,000 there, and I had some signed checks from the resort that was left for me so I could pay the beer vendor and whatever, 'cause I wasn't on the account. And uh, and I took $2,000 from that, came up there and, and I was, "here is your $2,000, here's your $2,000." And now I have, you know, this was, it made it really hurt for me to do that, but I had at least, the least I could do. I'm embarrassed, I'm whatever.

[00:12:45] Will Johnson: So he gave her the $2000, and they head into town for dinner.

[00:12:48] Jim Schmidt: She says, "Oh, I'll pay." Well she was paying with the money I gave her, it didn't matter there, and it wasn't anything. It was, I had a glass of wine and hamburger or something, I don't know.

[00:12:58] Will Johnson: Jim and Desiree go back to the RV. He makes plans for a sleeping arrangement.

[00:13:02] Jim Schmidt: You can go ahead and have the room in the back and I'll, I can make up this couch and I'll just sleep here, and she said, "Well, I'm kind of claustrophobic" or whatever, and I said, "Okay, no problem. You can sleep here; I'll go there or whatever." So then I went back, I started feeling kind of funny about something, so I, I went back, and I took the money that was in a drawer near my bed, and I put it, I, I put it in a, my sock, my sock drawer. I was kind of had a funny feeling, but I'm still feeling bad. Okay, so the night goes by, there's no kissing, hugging, nothing.


[00:13:48] Will Johnson: If things were feeling just a bit strange to Jim, the next day would only get stranger. Desiree said she'd be leaving in the morning. He was up early taking care of some resort business.

[00:13:58] Jim Schmidt: I came back to the bus; my car uh, the car was in front. She was in the car. My little dog, I said, "Oh, I've got to get my little dog." "Oh no, I have your dog." She didn't want me to back in the bus. So I take her to the airport, and she put her, she had one little overnight bag and her purse. And she put it on the hood of the car. And she said, "Oh, I can't find my uh, my ID." And she said, "Would you look through that bag," and I'm thinking why does she want me to look through this bag, and then, "I'll look in this one," and I said, "Well I don't see any ID in here." And she says, "Well, let me look in that one. You look in this one." She handed me both bags.

[00:14:43] Will Johnson: Desiree finally finds her ID, makes sort of a big deal of finding it, in fact. They say good-bye and Jim makes the drive back to the RV.

[00:14:50] Jim Schmidt: On the way back, I get a call from the manager over at the uh, place that's running the store, and he says, "Hey, you've got to bring over a check for the beer vendor or pop vendor, whatever it was." I said, "Oh, no problem." So I go in to get one of the signed checks. The signed checks were there, and the cash was gone. And I says, oh man. She just, she just robbed me.


[00:15:15] Will Johnson: All of a sudden it all starts to make sense. The random phone call out of the blue from a stranger, an unexpected visit, talk of investments and other big ideas, and then the rush to get to the airport.

[00:15:27] Jim Schmidt: So when I was gone for that half hour, hour, she went back and went through all the drawers and found the money. She took the cash, left the, but I didn't know this at the time.

[00:15:39] Will Johnson: Even the hubbub about the missing ID was part of Desiree's plan.

[00:15:42] Jim Schmidt: She knew she had the cash, and she wanted to prove to me when I found out the cash was gone that oh, she didn't take it, 'cause you went through my bags.

[00:15:52] Will Johnson: Jim now understands his sense of unease from the night before.

[00:15:55] Jim Schmidt: Well I think she may have seen me where I, that I, I went back there, and I got cash.

[00:16:01] Will Johnson: Okay. Oh, the 2000 or so for the air--, for the airplane.

[00:14:46] Jim Schmidt: So she knew there was, I came out with that and, and I was sitting on the bed counting out the 2,000, and I think she was watching me.

[00:16:13] Will Johnson: What's going through your mind? How do you feel?

[00:16:15] Jim Schmidt: I feel terrible, because that was all the money I had left to my name. So, I mean, you know, when I had millions you don't think about it. When you're down, when you have nothing left, this was really, I mean it's, I guess yeah, here's a guy that this was my, the cash that was going to get me through life, with the $15,000, I'd go to the dollar store. I could live a long time. It was really a tragic thing for me because that's all the cash I had.

[00:16:45] Will Johnson: Did you panic?
[00:16:46] Jim Schmidt: Well yeah, well yeah, I mean you kind of break out in a cold sweat, yeah. And I'm, I'm just like, I'm kind of, it kind of drains you. I knew what had happened, and it all, all of a sudden it all clicked in. Oh, that's why I got the accidental, you know email, that's why you go through her bags, this is why this, that, and no I, I, there was 100% guaranteed she did it.

[00:17:13] Will Johnson: Desiree's scam is all falling into place, and he's down 15,000. The 2000 he gave her, 13,000 she made off with. He's got no spending money at all. But, he's a proactive guy. Jim picks up the phone and calls her. Desiree picks up.


[00:17:30] Jim Schmidt: And I says, "Desiree," uh, I said, "You just stole my money." And she says, I said, "I, I needed that money." And she says, "No, I didn't steal it. You went through my bags." So she was covering up, and I said, "Okay, would you take a lie detector test or polygraph?" And she said, "Well, absolutely, no problem."

[00:17:52] Will Johnson: Yep, Jim wants to put her on a lie detector, and Jim being Jim, knows the guy to call.

[00:17:56] Jim Schmidt: I get a hold of this Mr. Brown whose been doing uh, polygraph forever, and so I got, I gave him her phone number and they started communicating. He talked to her, but then she didn't show up, but he says, "Jim, I have been doing this for the last 20 years, and I could tell by asking her questions over the phone that she is guilty as can be."

[00:18:21] Will Johnson: But Jim still isn't giving up.

[00:18:23] Jim Schmidt: So I kept calling. I says, "Well, gee, Desiree, I really, you know you were really a nice person and whatever, and it looks like I'm going to come back in the money." And then Desiree would call saying, you know, "Like, well when do you think you're going to have more money to invest?" And I just kept in touch.

[00:18:40] Will Johnson: For Jim Schmidt, a guy who made millions, gave away millions, and then lost it all, getting his money back was not something he was going to leave off to others.

[00:18:48] Jim Schmidt: You know, when I called her, I said, "Desiree, that's all the money I had left. And I needed that money." But I wasn't going to let this drop.

[00:18:58] Will Johnson: Jim didn't want to drop it, but outside of calling Desiree, reporting it to the police and hounding her for the money, he didn't really have much he could do. The 13,000 was gone, plus the 2,000 he gave her, and so was Desiree.


[00:19:12] Will Johnson: Desiree Boltos' home base was actually Fort Worth, Texas. And authorities there already had her on their radar. Other victims had come forward, other elderly men.

[00:19:21] Lori Varnell: This is a woman that, according to her work history, never received a paycheck in her life.

[00:19:26] Will Johnson: How old was she when she started doing this? Did you find that out?

[00:19:29] Lori Varnell: The first uh, victim and she began a relationship around when she was 28 years old.

[00:19:35] Will Johnson: Lori Varnell is an Assistant Criminal District Attorney in Fort Worth, Texas, and the Chief of the Elder Financial Fraud Unit. She learned about Desiree Boltos over a year ago. There were two complaints against her, and both had to do with Boltos working her way into an older man's life for the purpose of basically taking financial advantage of him. She would do this by winning their hearts and then taking their wallet. But the case was complicated. The men had seemingly willingly let Boltos into their lives, but Boltos didn't have love on her mind.

[00:20:04] Lori Varnell: She was getting the benefit of years of retirement saved up, she was getting the benefit of Social Security funds, she was getting the benefit of, of um, basically investment accounts; all sorts of accounts that would be used to sustain a person that was that age and they were concerned.

[00:20:23] Will Johnson: And how was she going about getting her name on those accounts or getting the benefits?

[00:20:28] Lori Varnell: So, uh many times, well in one case she married the elderly individual.

[00:20:33] Will Johnson: So, like the most extreme example is, is in one case she actually married someone and was able to get control of those accounts.

[00:20:40] Lori Varnell: Exactly.

[00:20:41] Will Johnson: Okay.

[00:20:41] Lori Varnell: And then in uh the case of the second victim, um, she was engaged to him, and she basically lied to him to get him to give her the money. And the lies were multifold. I mean there were several of them. Um, but she lied, and she got his money. I mean it's a simple as that.

[00:21:01] Will Johnson: Lori Varnell found records about Boltos. She found her living under another name in California in her 20s, and then Wyoming, and then finally the Fort Worth area where she was living with her common-law husband and several children. But luring older men into a romantic relationship became an art form for Desiree. She was subtle, and most importantly, believable.

[00:21:22] Lori Varnell: And elderly men would be suspicious, and women in this case, would be suspicious of somebody who came up in a bikini top with their cleavage out, and trying to attract them physically. And that's not really how she did it. Now she certainly had some attractions. She was young, obviously, and um, long hair, dark hair, brown eyes, kind of olive skin, um, not, not unattractive. The attraction she used was knowing her victims, knowing sort of citizens of the greatest generation, and how they have a, a mindset of trying to do something for the greater good. And what she would do is she would present herself as a widow, a mother, and having to raise not only hers, but her deceased sister's children. And this is how she explained [00:22:23] the multiple children, and then she would say, you know, um, "I'm going to need some money," eventually you know, she would start hitting them up for money for rent or utilities, which they would always give her, because she's a widow. Then she would hit them with the idea that "I, I can find a way out of poverty if you just help me." Who doesn't want to do that?

[00:22:46] Will Johnson: She'd cook up all kinds of stories for her victims, stories to ensnare them, or stories that tug at their heart strings.

[00:22:52] Lori Varnell: I'm a widow, I have these children, and I think the most cruelest way, which she would be, she would find out if they were bereaved and had a spouse that had died; she would find out how they died in ca--, casual conversation. They would tell her because they don't have a reason not to. Little did they know it would be used against them, because then all of a sudden, "Oh, your wife died of, of breast cancer." Now, all of a sudden, "I have breast cancer, and I'm so afraid that my children will have to live with no parents, and I need surgery and I can't afford it, will you pay for it?" "I have tumors in my uterus," and their wife died of uterine cancer. "I have tumors. I'm so afraid, I need to have a surgery, I need to have surgery, it's, it's $100,000 a tumor, I have six."

[00:23:41] Will Johnson: Or sometimes she'd say she was homeless, living in a shelter with her children, and she needed money to survive. And then sometimes she'd use a very different lie to fool them, asking wealthy men to invest in her design business. Whatever the lie was, they'd send money. She was a professional, it was her job. And she was good at it.

[00:23:59] Lori Varnell: She gave these elderly victims a quick uh education in how to transfer money to her.

[00:24:06] Will Johnson: And in the most extreme cases, she'd lure men into marriage and even use her children as pawns.

[00:24:11] Lori Varnell: You're going to raise my children, and they, the children will be used in this scheme. Many times be instructed to call them Papa. Call the elderly victim, Papa.

[00:24:22] Will Johnson: Did she use her own children ever in those scenarios?

[00:24:24] Lori Varnell: Absolutely.

[00:24:26] Will Johnson: Law enforcement is finally onto Desiree. As she leaves a trail of broken hearts and empty bank accounts throughout the state of Texas, she now plans her next move, to prey on victims nationwide. It's as if nothing can stop her.


[00:24:44] Will Johnson: And I'm back with AARP's Fraud Watch Network Ambassador Frank Abagnale. Frank, going into any new relationship uh, it's not a bad idea to have a, a little bit of skepticism, right?

[00:24:55] Frank Abagnale: Absolutely. And I think that if um, I'm going to get romantically involved with someone, I think I'd need to know uh who that person really is, and I want to make sure that I verify some of the things they told me, but certainly, if someone starts to, in a relationship, uh, starts to ask me for money, or starts to asking me questions like where I bank, or let me use your credit card, or can you do this for me, or ship this for me, or receive this for me, uh, that's where I really think the red flag goes up, and absolutely then I need to make sure that I know who I'm uh, dealing with. It's just a lot easier to go, to take a minute or two to check it out. As I mentioned to you before, I'm amazed that these young women that say, "Well, I dated him for about six months." "Well, have you ever been to his place?" "Uh, no." "Well, does he live by you?" "Uh, yeah." "Well, did you ever call him at home?" "Uh, no, he only tells me to call him at work." Uh, okay, those, those are red flags. You want to say, well there's [00:25:55] something not normal there. You need to go check that out. Today you have to be careful.

[00:26:01] Will Johnson: Alright, Frank. We'll come back uh next week for part 2 of our story about Desiree Boltos.

[00:26:06] Will Johnson: If you or someone you know has been the victim of a fraud or scam, call AARP's Fraud Watch Network Helpline at 877-908-6360. As always, thanks to my team of scambusters, producers Julie Getz and Brook Ellis, our audio engineer Julio Gonzales. And of course, my cohost, Frank Abagnale. Be sure to find us on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts. For The Perfect Scam, I'm Will Johnson.




Jim spent much of his life building a real estate empire on the West Coast. In the process he became a millionaire, profiled in newspapers and on television. But in 2007, when the recession hit, Jim lost his vast fortune. At 76, Jim is running a small resort in Lake Tahoe, working to slowly rebuild his finances, when he receives a mysterious call. The woman on the other end of the line asks for Jim by name. She introduces herself as Desiree and asks if Jim remembers her. He doesn’t, but Desiree is unfazed, claiming to have met Jim at the resort while she was a guest. She wants to get to know him better and before the call ends, Desiree has arranged another trip to the resort to visit a flattered Jim.

Desiree arrives with a business opportunity for Jim, who quickly realizes she thinks he’s still wealthy. She’s visibly disappointed to find that Jim’s house is no longer a mansion but a renovated Airstream trailer. At every turn of the visit, Desiree finds a reason to ask Jim for money — she needs investors for a new business and money to pay a family member’s mortgage — but Jim isn’t in a position to lend or invest money. Desiree decides it’s time to go home.

When Jim returns from taking her to the airport, he has an uneasy feeling. He looks to make sure the checkbook the resort keeps to pay vendors is still there. It is, but the stash of cash he keeps in the same drawer, the little savings he has left, is gone. Jim immediately contacts the authorities, but Desiree, who will eventually come to be known as the “Sweetheart Swindler,” is just getting started.

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