Woman scammed out of $500K on Christian dating site

A 66-year-old Californian meets a man claiming to be Irish. Before she knows it, she is embroiled in a Nigerian scam.

This does not seem to have been a godly match. Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

You can't look them in the eyes.

That's the difference between meeting someone online and meeting them in real life.

One California woman might be wishing that she had looked her online date in the eyes, before she parted with $500,000.

As CBS San Francisco reports, the 66-year-old woman met a man on ChristianMingle.com.

She thought he was an Irishman working on a Scottish oil rig. He turned out to be a Nigerian man who had only one thing on his mind. Sadly, that one thing was money.

Deputy District Attorney Cherie Bourland said that the woman fell victim to "the love drug."

The man, who claimed his name was David Holmes, asked her for $300,000 to help him start an oil business.

It's hard enough to give any money -- let alone that amount -- to someone you know. But to give it to someone whose eyes you've never looked at live shows a true love narcosis.

Fortunately, she wired him another $200,000.

It was this wire that allowed police to encounter Wisdom Onokpite. The woman sent the money to a Turkish bank and when Onokpite walked into the bank to withdraw the money, the authorities were alerted.

It turned out that he was an accomplice of the man who had enchanted the woman -- with a profile picture of a male model -- on Christian Mingle. That man has still not been caught.

At least the woman got this $200,000 back.

It's so easy to accuse those caught in this way of being naive or even stupid. It's easy to laugh at someone who might think that a Christian dating site is somehow immune from those who prey on the vulnerable.

But loneliness can drive every human being to a level of distraction that turns their actions into wild expressions of the most unlikely hope.

Why not now? Why not him? Why not me?

It's always worth, though, seeing what your hope looks like in real life first.

 

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