From the desk of Kristen Justis, Director of Marketing and Customer Relations
DANGERS OF ONLINE DATING FOR ALL GENERATIONS
PART FOUR – THE YOUNG SOLDIER
In previous postings in this series, I have discussed a widower, a divorcé, and a professional who were victims of online dating scams. One would like to believe scammers would have some conscience and stay away for our active duty military or even our veterans. This is not the case. Scammers are not particular when choosing their victims. Lauth Investigations International, Inc. recently handled a fraud investigation for a young military soldier who had been in a long term, live in relationship with a scammer he met online. Many believe these scams occur quickly; however, these individuals are committed and they get themselves in deep in order to complete the scam in its entirety.
Below is a description of a Lauth Investigation’s fraud case which shows military are a prime target for these scammers as they are gone from home often for months at a time. They are not able to be in tune with what is happening at home while they are deployed.
The Young Soldier
Jack is a twenty-two year old Army soldier. He met Gina on line while he was stationed in Kentucky. Gina and Jack began dating and their relationship grew over a period of two years. They are in love and decide to move in together. Jack proposes, they move into an apartment and they are ready to start their life.
In the meantime, Jack has completely isolated himself from his family and friends. His mother, Tara, hadn’t heard from him for over a year. Gina has been added to Jack’s bank account and she has taken control on his finances. In a long term, engaged, relationship, one party taking over the finances is not typically a red flag.
In the summer of 2017, Jack learns he is being deployed to Afghanistan. He attends training in Texas prior to his deployment. While in Texas, Tara broke up with Jack but told him she would watch over his finances and apartment while he was in Texas and through his deployment. Heartbroken and hoping they would get back together once he returned to Kentucky, he agreed to allow her to maintain her control over his finances. Jack even began paying her a monthly rate since she was handling his finances.
After a few weeks of being deployed, Jack finds out, through a neighbor in Kentucky, Tara has moved in another man to Jack’s apartment where he was paying the rent. Once Jack found out, he called Tara and told her he was getting rid of the apartment as he didn’t need it anymore. He advised his parents were coming down to move his items from the apartment.
Jack proceeded to draw up a Power of Attorney for his parents to take over his finances. In the time it took him to get the Power of Attorney, Tara had drained his bank account, shut off his debit card and moved all items from the apartment. By the time his parents arrived at the apartment with a moving truck, the only possessions remaining were some of Jack’s clothes. Tara became a ghost.
Jack’s parents immediately hired Lauth Investigations to attempt to locate Tara in hopes of finding some justice for their son. The experienced private investigators began to uncover the full scope of the fraud which had taken place. The scam on Jack was found to be a well thought out plan.
The private investigators found Tara’s boyfriend who moved into Jack’s apartment was, in fact, her husband. They have pulled this scam on numerous individuals. They meet military personnel online, develop relationships with them (men and women), take over the finances, skim money from the accounts, and disappear with all the money once their true intent surfaces.
Unfortunately for the individuals like Jack, they willingly add the scammers to their bank accounts, thereby making the money common property between the two individuals on the joint account. There is no criminal recourse for this action. The victims may pursue civil action against these thieves; however, the victims generally do not have the money to take this next action.
Lauth Investigations assisted in locating this thieving couple and provided Jack with information to file civil suit against them. Jack reported both individuals to the online dating site they utilized. Hopefully, they will learn their lesson and stop preying on our military.
Private Investigators provide answers for victims and handles cases the police are unable to investigate. Utilizing a private investigation firm is key to uncovering the truth, arming victims with ammunition to proceed as necessary, and hopefully stopping criminals from harming other individuals in the future.