Victim Location 29681
Total money lost $4,000
Type of a scam Romance
On 2/2/18, "Mani P." asked to connect with me via the Indian dating site Shaadi.com. Immediately, he began chatting with me via the site, and quickly asked for my number. That day, his profile disappeared, and he claimed that "he deactivated it because he only wanted to talk to me". He said his name was Manish Patel, that he grew up in London with his mother, that his father died when he was 3, that his education (through his Master’s) was in England, and that he moved to the U.S. about 15 yrs. ago. He said that he was 42, his birthday was May 11th, that he’s a construction manager working in New York City for a few months, but lives and has a home in San Jose, CA. He claimed his mother lived near San Jose, and has high blood pressure and delicate health.
Two weeks of 99 pages worth of texts (including pics and romantic memes) and calls ensued, in which he claimed he was focused on me, falling for me, in love with me, wanting to spend his life with me, wanted to make me his wife, that I was his soulmate, and everything else that someone looking for love would love to hear. He said that 4 years ago, his fiance was killed in a car accident by a drunk driver, after which he got off all social media, except LinkedIn (although I could not find him on LinkedIn). He said his company was New Age Structures, which I couldn’t find anywhere online, except listed in a database for shady offshore companies. He said that the company website was down, but would be up soon, and that he would send me the website link. He never did. I couldn’t find anything about him or his company anywhere online; this was the first sign that something was very wrong.
He only facetimed once (just for a few min.), never left a voicemail, and didn’t have a personal greeting on his voicemail. His cell number was a Berkeley, CA number, and his email (from where he texted) was generic: [email protected] "Contractor.net" is a generic website for private contractors. His pictures were not real-time pictures. After about 1.5 weeks of talking, he began talking about getting a chance for a government contract for his construction company, for which he needed to show 4.5 million in financial solvency. He said he was 84K short, and was asking his friends to loan him money for a week. He complained of just "barely getting through" this increasingly stressful ordeal. After two weeks, we planned for him to visit me in early March. He said his booking agent was going to book his flight, and then said it was already booked, but never gave me his flight info.
By this time, he had duped me enough to believe we were deeply in love, and I stupidly offered to send money. He quickly and willingly accepted. He sent me the US Bank acct name, number, and address. The account belonged to an Athena Isaac in Thorton, CO, who he claimed was his P.A. (personal assistant). Mylife.com confirms that there is an Athena Isaac in Thornton, CO. At this point, I was getting extremely nervous that this was a scam; things weren’t adding up and I could no longer rationalize it away in the name of true love.
Finally wising up, I refused to send him any more money, and asked him to text me some pictures of his trip to DC (for the government contract bidding meeting), but he didn’t send any. I did more online research, and came upon this site, the BBB Scamtracker. I found a romance scam entry (dated 10/6/17) with terrifyingly similar details: he met her through shaadi.com, had a generic Indian name, owned a construction company, needed money to provide collateral to secured an alleged government contract, his mother was in poor health (knee surgery), and he was from San Jose, CA.
I confronted him via text and on the phone on 2/23/18. He got defensive and began yelling at me, but wouldn’t answer a single question with a straight answer. I drilled him: What’s your middle name? Who is Athena Isaac? Why didn’t you want me to send the money to your own account? What’s your address in San Jose? Why can’t I find anything about you or your company online? Are you scamming me or not? All my direct questions were either met with silence or more yelling. He either hung up on me or the call was disconnected. I texted him to continue to try to uncover the truth, but haven’t heard from him since.
His emotional seduction was ingeniously thoughtful, loving, articulate, detailed, evil, and timed out. I’m an educated woman, and I still fell for it. Warn everyone to be extra cautious, discerning, suspicious, and to never, ever send money to someone they’ve met online or never met in person. Romance scams are a multi-billion dollar per year industry. After filing this report, I plan to contact Shaadi.com, and perhaps even file a report with the local, regional, and maybe even federal authorities.