Cynthia was going through a painful time since she was diagnosed with breast cancer while her husband was struggling with brain cancer. After an 18 month long fight, her husband of 27 years passed away due to his cancer battle, which happened to be the day after her last day of chemo. Since Cynthia was heartbroken and lonely, she joined eHarmony in hopes of finding a life-long partner. She met Glenn Perry Hoffman 11 months later who treated her like a princess for 3-4 months of their relationship. He would check in with her, send her flowers, and call her occasionally when he wasn’t too busy with his work. However, things started to take a turn for the worst when she became a victim of a romance scam.
What Fake Story Did the Scammer Tell Cynthia?
When they first met on eHarmony, Glenn claimed to be a private pilot and navy retiree but wanted to start his own business in auto imports in Brazil or Mexico eventually. He also said that he was in the navy for 15 years and was a commercial pilot for Delta who flew mostly routes to and from Asia. He then supposedly got a contract with Brazil to start importing cars to them.
“Without asking, he sent me a copy of the signed contract.”
The contract he received from Brazil was a 12 million dollar contract and was going to make 4 million dollars from it. He had shipped cars from Savannah to Sau Paulo, but the government of Brazil wouldn’t let him have the cars unless he paid an anti-terrorism fee of 30 thousand dollars.
“He got the cars and got them all to Brazil, and that’s when he started asking me for money.”
How Did the Scammer Start Asking Cynthia For Money in This Romance Scam?
After those 3-4 months of paradise, things took a turn for the worse as red flags would appear showing that Glenn wasn’t who he said he was. He asked her to pay the anti-terrorism fee of 30 thousand dollars, and it didn’t stop there. He then had to pay 10 percent taxes before he could leave Brazil and get the money from the contract.
“I don’t know how he convinced me.”
She then sent him more money, but it was never enough. The Brazilian government kept going back and forth with them, upping the amount of money they wanted from Glenn. He finally won a court case where the company had to give him the 4 million dollars, but all of it went into his Barclays bank account. This account was supposedly frozen until he came back into the United States with documents proving that the transaction wasn’t a money-laundering scheme.
How Did Cynthia Suspect That This Might Be a Romance Scam?
Cynthia was stuck continuously paying Glenn out of the bad luck he had received from his auto importing business. That’s when she started growing suspicious that this might be a romance scam. She would talk to him every day on Google Hangouts, with the exception of that one time he was in a coma at a hospital in LaPaz.
However, she was wary of the fact that he had a German accent even though he lived in Georgia. His excuse was that his dad was stationed in Germany for the military, so Glenn had a German education from 5-years-old to when he got out of school. Sometimes he would have perfect English grammar, and other times he wouldn’t.
He also copied and pasted a romantic paragraph from the internet, and Cynthia caught him on the act questioning him. He would then call her out for not trusting him and why she felt the need to search for his posts on Google. He would then avoid her important questions as he tried to talk around the questions, pretending like the questions were never asked.
He then turned the whole thing around on Cynthia and said:
“If I had used Shakespeare would you be so upset?”
“Words are words, they’re there for anybody to use.”
“Do you know what you’ve done Cynthia? You have almost blown this whole relationship that we are starting to build here.”
Cynthia’s and his relationship would last 20 months because she didn’t want to believe in these red flags. She was finally happy after her husband’s passing and thought she had someone who cared for her. However, it just ended up being too much. She finally tried searching him up on Google numerous times. Nothing ever came up about him, except for some fake auto-import websites he created. That’s when she knew he was a scammer.
“At some point, it became staying in the relationship on the off-chance that this whole thing was real I was gonna get my money back.”
How Was Cynthia Able to Pay the Scammer?
She sold her house twice. The first time she sold it, she rented it back for an outrageous amount of money since the scammer claimed that he would be home soon and would either help her buy her home back, or they could move to a different home. The scammer kept most of the proceeds when she sold her house the first time. When she couldn’t afford the outrageous rent, she sold it a second time and kept all the money.
“I took advances on my credit cards, and I pretty much wiped out my 401K.”
What is “Glenn” Up To Now?
He claims to be still stuck in Brazil since his bodyguard and driver, Steven, needs the last bit of money that was going to be used to get Glenn home. Steven supposedly borrowed the money from drug barons and if he doesn’t pay him back, they’re going to kidnap his children and burn down his house. Since Steven has been so good to him, Glenn feels like he has to help Steven instead of going back home.
“I asked him if there were any new developments in his life, and he said no are there any developments in your life? It was like nothing was going on at all and he washed his hands of the whole story since there’s no more money coming.”
His and her sentences haven’t been more than 2-3 words when they have talked since he knows that she doesn’t have any more money to give him. This is a typical sign that she was a victim of his romance scam.
A Breakdown of How a Romance Scammer Was Able to Scam Her
They use CashApp or Bitcoin so that they can continue to hide their identity on the Internet.
They look for vulnerable victims that are widowed or have gone through a tragic life event.
They create multiple profiles using other people’s photos so that no one will ever find out who they are.
They use Photoshop to edit photos so that victims will believe in their scammers more.
They target multiple dating sites and social media platforms until they are talking to a plethora of victims.
They target older women since it’s easier to talk them into a life partnership.
They send messages to as many women (or men) as they can a day.
Their preferred payment methods are gift cards and wire transfers.
They come up with elaborate stories.
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