It happened when I thought I had nothing left to lose. I felt that I had reached rock bottom; that my psychological health couldn’t possibly get any worse. And then I met Lori--the woman I thought was the love of my life, but instead scammed me out of almost $50,000. My time with her brought me to the pinnacle of happiness and then threw me down into the depths of despair, down to a level beyond what I ever thought was imaginable. The incredible anxiety and depression from this experience have continued to profoundly affect me to this day. However, before discussing my time with Lori, I believe it would be helpful to provide some history about myself.
I have suffered from depression and anxiety for most of my life, the worst of it for the past 18 years, after my now ex-wife left me and severed my relationship with our four children. However, the losses I suffered through my time with Lori have left me emotionally raw and contemplating suicide for the first time ever. I have never had more sleepless nights nor felt more paralyzed by my depression. Never before, have I experienced the inability to function; the loss of ability to do even basic daily activities like eating, dressing, or even getting out of bed. My anxiety has increased exponentially as well; even if I can force myself to get out of bed, I can’t bear to leave the house. Facing other humans is just too difficult. At this time, I have lost any hope I have ever held of having a better future.
In 2003, my chronic depression and anxiety ended my career of 18 years. By 2004, I was put short term disability, but my symptoms did not abate. Eventually, what was supposed to be temporary, turned into a permanent disability. My disability, which had been originally due to mental health issues, has now been expanded to include other medical issues such as degenerative disc disease and chronic migraines. In addition, I also have arthritis, microvascular ischemic disease and tinnitus with hearing loss.
My time with Lori was not the first time I had experienced great loss and turmoil. By 2006, I had lost my wife, my children, my home, my vehicle, my career and my financial security. In September, 2003, after 13 years of marriage, my now ex-wife became a cross-country truck driver and left me and our four children for another man. Eventually she moved back home, deciding that she actually wanted custody of our children. After a nasty court battle in 2005, she ended up taking all of our children away from me. Ultimately she moved them to another city four hours away, making it nearly impossible for visitation. She also abandoned all financial responsibility, leaving all the debts she had accrued while we were still married. I was then forced into bankruptcy.
In 2006, I attempted to move on. I rented a town home along with two roommates to help with rent and other household bills. In less than a year, however, my roommates both left me to foot all the bills alone. Being on disability meant that I had a fixed and limited income, and I was not able to sustain living there on my own. Eventually I was evicted and forced to put all of my belongings into storage. For most of the following year, I had no choice but to live out of my car while staying with various friends in the Rochester and Elmira, NY areas. While I struggled to cope with both my homelessness and the loss of my children, it took a tremendous toll on my psychological and physical health. This had to be one of the lowest and most degrading periods of my entire life. It wasn’t until late September of 2007 that I was able to find a new place I could afford on my own and call home.
During the separation from my children, my wife was able to use parental alienation to sever their relationship with me, and use them as a weapon. Initially, the youngest two children tried to stay in contact with me with clandestine late night video chats but they were severely punished when they were caught. After constant berating and brainwashing, all four of my children turned against me, eventually believing the lie that it was I who was the one who had left and broken up the family. Once my youngest children stopped communicating with me, I was completely devastated. My heart was broken, sending me into an even deeper depression. To add insult to injury, I had also lost support and contact with my family and friends, including my own mother. My ex-wife was able to convince all of them that I was the “bad guy,” thus leaving me more or less all alone in the world.
After about 13 years of no contact with any of my children, the two youngest, now in their early twenties, contacted me again. For a short time I texted with one and visited the other a few times in person. However, once again their mother used her influence over them to sever their connection with me. I had to go through the pain of losing them all over again. The psychological toll this took on me was severe. I had missed out on many of the important milestones a parent looks forward to when raising children. I was not welcome to their graduations or weddings and missed out on the births and lives of my five grandchildren.
Despite everything that has happened to me, I have made several attempts to move forward. Over the years I have had a few serious relationships since my ex-wife left me, but apparently my ongoing vulnerabilities makes me a magnet for narcissists and abusers. I have been cheated on repetitively, lied to and manipulated. I was also both emotionally and physically abused. I believe I am a loving person, but these people took advantage of my trusting, caring nature.
After a recent long-term relationship ended, I decided I needed a change in how I met people. I had never used online dating before, but I decided to give it a try and see if I could find the RIGHT person to spend the rest of my life with. I joined several online dating websites after doing research on online dating fraud, catfishing, etc. I thought I would be well prepared to evade the traps and pitfalls that could befall me in the online dating world. Little did I know that I was about to meet one of the cleverest, cunning, deceiving and manipulating women I have ever met in my entire life.
I talked to several women, and after identifying a few catfishers, I was pretty sure I was adept at identifying the schemers from the genuine women. In September of 2020 I met Lori from Kansas. She was a lovely younger woman whom I thought was the answer to my prayers. Not wanting to take any chances, we both verified via video that we were each the person we said we were. The next two months were spent in constant communication via text. We shared our life stories, our hopes and our dreams. I felt extremely close to Lori, and thought we had a wonderful relationship full of love, affection, caring and mutual respect.
At some point during the relationship, Lori told me that she had to travel to the UK for personal business. While there, she made me believe that she had caught COVID-19 and was hospitalized. I felt horrible for her, as she had told me how hard things were for her in the UK. She was totally alone and, due to the situation she was in, unable to get access to her finances. She also told me about her mom back in Kansas who was fighting cancer. I, like anyone else in a loving relationship, tried to figure out how I could help both Lori and her mom.
Since my income is limited, I didn’t have any real savings, so the only way I could help her was by taking advantage of my credit cards. I had a good deal of credit due to my normally frugal lifestyle. When I suggested that I could help her in this way, Lori immediately agreed, but promised to pay the bills off when they came due. I wired her the money, giving her several thousand dollars at a time to take care of one thing or another. All in all, I sent her almost $50,000. When the first bill came due, Lori did make a large payment to that account. I was thrilled, knowing that my love had made good on her promise. Since she had paid the first credit card bill, I had no reason to doubt her. Unfortunately, reality had a different tale to tell.
A few days later, I discovered that the payment to my credit card had been reversed. I was sure that there had been some kind of mistake, so I contacted my credit card company to find out what had happened. To my utter dismay, I was advised that the bank account that had been used to pay my bill was no longer valid. I reached out to Lori, who at first seemed puzzled. But as I pressed her, she became evasive and distant. A day or so later, I discovered that Lori had blocked all contact with me, leaving me no way to reach her. Not surprisingly, I never heard from her again. At this point, it became very clear to me that despite my best efforts, I had been scammed out of $48,276.
I was utterly distraught. The woman with whom I thought I would spend the rest of my life turned out to be my worst nightmare. I was so sure I was talking to a real person! I had done my research, and Lori had given me NONE of the warning signs. She had been absolutely believable, and I had fallen totally in love with…a ghost. In my misery, I did have the presence of mind to contact the local authorities. Trying to recoup my losses, I filed online reports with the FTC and the FBI, who afterwards advised there was little to no chance of ever catching Lori or seeing my money again.
By this time the depression and anxiety were once again getting out of control and taking over my life. As the reality sets in, I can hardly function, barely sleep and have to force myself to eat. I have no desire to leave the house, nor for any companionship. Most days are spent in bed, on the couch or anxiously roaming the house, all while constantly dwelling on possible solutions to my current financial situation.
This is where I humbly ask for your help. As I mentioned previously, I am on disability and have a fixed income. I have always lived frugally, and until now I have been able to pay all of my bills. But now I have an enormous credit card debt, which has come due with interest. Up until this point I have managed to make the minimum payments with what little savings I have. However that savings will be exhausted soon and I won’t be able to continue making the payments any longer. With the interest, the current debt is now well over $50,000. I have contacted my creditors and explained the situation to them, but they, being corporations, have advised me that there is nothing they can do to help and that I am liable for everything. In addition, the stress, sadness, grief, and anxiety are completely destroying me, emotionally, financially, and even physically.
They say everything in life happens for a reason, but I have yet to figure out what that reason all of these things have happened to me would be. I believe that I’m a good person. I always put others before myself and help those in need. One of my best friends says that I have “a heart of gold” and others say that I’m kind, caring, sweet, compassionate, empathetic, resourceful, courageous and humble. So what am I doing wrong? I still can’t fathom how Lori could take advantage of me; especially after knowing all the heartache and loss I had already experienced. How could she ruin my life, my future and leave me so broken?
I had already been through so much in my life and somehow survived. I’ve never had to ask for help like this before and never in my wildest dreams imagined that I ever would need to. But this is the most devastating and destructive situation I’ve ever been in.
After my experiences with my ex-wife, my previous relationships, and what happened with Lori, I have had my doubts that there is any good left on this planet. Please, prove me wrong by proving that there are still honest, good-hearted people left in this world. From the bottom of my heart, I humbly ask for your support. Any donation will help ease the financial burden that I’m under, no matter how small. At the same time, I would be forever grateful if you could share my story with family, friends and on social media. I thank you in advance for your support and God bless each and every one of you!!