SUSAN Perry, 73, was growing tired of her husband – and when a handsome younger man began chatting with her online, she thought her life was on the up.
However, the former-sales assistant from Blackfield, Hants, ended up loosing £40,000 in an elaborate scam led by her toyboy conman- and her husband has STILL vowed to stick by her.
Susan Perry was drawn in by the toyboy conman – and ended up giving the scammer £40,000[/caption]
Susan wed Gordon, 73, after a “blissfully happy” decade together.
But despite their initial bond, she admitted that after a year, the spark had disappeared.
She said: “I craved spontaneity and excitement but Gordon was happy caring for one of our poorly dogs and didn’t seem interested in going out.
“I suppose I felt neglected and was looking for attention.”
So when “Gideon,” an oil rig worker, befriended the 73-year-old on Facebook, she believed his promises of starting a glamorous new life in America with him.
SOLD A DREAM
After seeing the “very dashing” profile picture of the younger man on Facebook, she was “naturally intrigued” by the conman’s invitation to chat.
Claiming to have a 14-year-old son called Paul – the trickster began feeding Susan elaborate lies about his son’s car accidents, hospital bills and boarding school fees in Dubai.
Susan claims she was drawn in by the daily romantic messages and the man’s “soft and gentle” French accent.
She would be messaging him for hours on end and would call him and chat while her husband was out of the room.
“Gideon seemed genuinely interested in my life,” Susan told The Mirror.
“He asked about my hobbies and said he worked on an off-shore rig but missed his 14-year-old son Paul, at boarding school in Dubai, and felt lonely.
“I never hid the fact I was married, but I felt sorry for him.
“I didn’t tell my husband about our chats as I didn’t think I was doing anything wrong.”
However, the three-times married Susan was drawn in and sent her online lover money when he was facing a crisis – starting with a sum of £400 which soon amounted to £40,000.
The first elaborate lie fed to Susan was that Gideon’s son had been seriously hurt in a hit-and-run attack and needed money to fund his life-saving surgery.
Soon, she had used her life savings with the promise of repayment and even began pawning her rare gemstone jewellery when she hit her overdraft.
She said: “He promised to repay me out of the lump sum he’d get at the end of his stint on the oil rig.
“I had no reason to disbelieve him.
“At one point Gideon even told me he’d paid half his wages in and asked me to take care of it.
“I said no – I felt uncomfortable being responsible for someone else’s money but it was reassuring.”
The conman then claimed pirates had invaded his oil rig and that he needed Susan to send him £14,000 for a helicopter to get his men away from the brutal attackers.
Wound up in the scam – Susan sent him everything she had.
“I feel so stupid now but I believed every word.
I gave a stranger nearly £40,000…I got completely carried away with the fantasy of being swept off my feet
“When he said he needed £14,000 for a helicopter to get his men off the rig I sent every penny in my account, via several bank transfers.
“I was so relieved when he called to say they were all safe.”
After Susan maxed out her credit card to pay for Gideon’s son’s operation, she said: “I got a message saying Paul had recovered from surgery then another saying Gideon had been paid and would transfer the money to me next day.
“I was so relieved – I’d had sleepless nights, wondering how I’d afford the repayments.”
However, Susan’s dreams shattered when she received a phone call from Gideon’s son, saying his dad had died of a heart attack in his sleep – leaving her distraught and feeling like she’d “lost the love of her life.”
After explaining the ordeal to her husband and daughter Elizabeth, 49, Susan realised that she had been scammed and that her online relationship had just been fantasy.
She said: “They told me it was a con but I refused to believe it.
“I couldn’t accept his promises were lies.”
SUCH A FOOL
When police came to their home in Blackfield, Hants, Susan finally accepted it was all a scam.
“The officer said there was no trace of Gideon or Paul, that their photos were probably fake and I was one of hundreds who are targeted.
“I felt such a fool.
“I was in my seventies, too old to be taken in by a Romeo conman…but I’d been utterly hoodwinked.
“I gave a stranger nearly £40,000.
“I got completely carried away with the fantasy of being swept off my feet.
“Gideon promised me the world and I fell hook, line and sinker for his very convincing lies.
“We’ve been to hell and back but I know how lucky I am to have such a kind, generous and caring husband.
“I want to warn anyone reading this: Never fall for someone you meet on social media.
“Fake profiles and invented identities are easy to create. Please learn by my mistakes.”
Ex-civil servant Gordon said: “I’d suspected something was wrong.
“When Susan finally broke down everything fell into place.
“Of course, I felt an element of hurt but I loved Susan and wanted to help her.
“I felt guilty I hadn’t given her attention.
“I paid off £7,000 in credit card loans and £700 buying back jewellery. There is still around £15,000. It’ll take years but we’ll pay it off.
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“Some would have left, unable to cope with the lies but I meant every word of my vows.
“We’re rebuilding our marriage.
“It wasn’t how I thought retirement would turn out but I don’t blame my wife. These conmen know what they’re doing and target the vulnerable.”
Despite losing her life savings and falling for the conman on Facebook, Susan’s husband Gordon has still stuck by her side[/caption]
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