Woman jailed for 10 years after defrauding friend of €130,000 in complex scam

Woman jailed for 10 years after defrauding friend of €130,000 in complex scam

A Thessaloniki appeals court has jailed a 37-year-old woman for 10 years for her role defrauding a friend of €130,000, after convincing her, through a complex scam, that she knew an “American doctor” who wanted to marry her.

The two alleged American doctors, who were allegedly on a UN peacekeeping mission in Yemen and “flirted” with two women in Greece through an online app, offering them marriage proposals and a rich life in the US, were described in court as the “invisible protagonists” in the scam, which officers in the police’s electronic crimes division uncovered in April 2022.

The scam began in July 2021, when the 44 year old was working with the accused in a tourist accommodation in Halkidiki, northern Greece. The two became friends and the 37 year old asked her colleague to stand for her two children at baptism.

The younger woman subsequently confided in the 44 year old that that her husband – who was present in court as was their two children – allegedly abused her.

For this reason, she intended to leave him and move, with her children, to New Jersey, in order to marry an American doctor, whom she allegedly met through her aunt, who lived there. She even showed her friend an agreement, which allegedly made the her the co-beneficiary of the doctor’s account with deposits amounting to $1 million.

In order to initiate visa procedures with the US embassy, the 37-year-old woman began asking her older friend for large amounts of money  – at first €3,000, then €6,000 – which she promised she would return as soon as she sorted out her life.

Some time later, the 37-year-old said that a colleague of her perspective husband had seen a photograph of the 44-year-old woman on Facebook and had expressed an interested in getting to her.

The two started communicating and exchanging romantic messages, the court heard.

The problem for the two women in Greece was that the “American doctors” claimed they were “trapped” in Yemen, where they were working on a UN mission. If they were to come to Greece to meet their new girlfriends, they would have to pay large sums of money to break their contracts.

Unknown to the 44-year-old woman, who continued to lend her friend money to help her friend and the “doctors,” the messages were being sent from Nigeria and the US.

The woman became increasing suspicious and conducted an online search of the images used by the “doctors,” which revealed that they were the photos of well-known social media influencers.

In her statement, the 37-year-old denied the accusation, claiming she was also a victim of the same fraud. She admitted to taking €97,000 euros from the other woman but said that money did not end up in her own pockets.

She insisted that she was also duped by the “doctors.”

“I trusted someone who didn’t deserve it,” she said.

The prosecutor in the case insisted that the defendant be convicted, expressing the opinion that she did not act alone. [AMNA]

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