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Married Couple Swindles Victims in a Romance Scam

In part 2 of the Boltos case, Texas officials track the criminals to Nevada

spinner image Episode 36 - Sweetheart Swindler - Par 2
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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 improbably millionaire. I made lots of money and was pretty generous with it and when I had it

Desiree, the “Sweetheart Swindler,” has made off with $15,000 of 76-year-old Jim’s money. Once a millionaire, Jim lost his real estate empire during the recession, and now thanks to Desiree he has also lost the savings he worked tirelessly to rebuild.

Desiree has moved on to a new mark, Doug, a veteran living in Nevada. This time around Desiree’s husband joins her in the con, approaching Doug in a parking lot and offering to come to his home to fix dents in his car. On one such visit, Desiree tags along. Eventually she starts to visit Doug on her own. Each time she enters Doug’s house she gathers information, stealing his Social Security number and other personal information.

Doug, who has always been close with his sister Patty, calls her when things start to go missing from his home. Patty arrives to find Doug’s life in complete disarray. There are papers and unopened mail covering every surface of his house. Patty digs in,  finding multiple credit cards in Doug’s name that he knows nothing about. There are bills for women’s clothes, dinners, cash advances and even a car. Wracked with debt that he can’t account for, Doug is on the verge of losing his house. After talking to Doug’s home health care worker, Patty figures out that the bills may be connected to a woman who makes frequent visits to the house. Patty tries to track down this woman.

Meanwhile, authorities in Texas, where Desiree has a home, are also on the hunt for her, but she’s skipped town. Little does Desiree know that her crime spree is coming to an end: Authorities in Texas have tracked her to an address in Nevada — Doug’s.

TIPS:  If you think you’ve been a victim of a scam or would like to report fraud call The Fraud Watch Network Helpline at 877-908-3360Anyone can become the victim of a scam, it’s important to be vigilant and know your vulnerabilities. For instance, if you are looking for a job you are more vulnerable to a work-at-home scam.

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Have you seen this scam?

  • Call the AARP Fraud Watch Network Helpline at 877-908-3360 or report it with the AARP Scam Tracking Map.  
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