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Romance Scam: Buffalo Grove Woman Loses $50,022 in Scam by Male Correspondent on

Mon February 22 2016 1:04 pm
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Buffalo Grove police received a report that a Buffalo Grove woman was scammed out of $50,022 between October 2015 and January 2016 by a man she met on matchmaking service, according to Buffalo Grove police.

In January on, the scammer told the 59-year-old woman that he was a secret service agent with his life and job in jeopardy because he failed to deliver a suitcase containing a large amount of cash to a king in Poland. He he told the woman that the suitcase was intercepted and missing.

While corresponding with the Buffalo Grove woman for several months, the man also claimed he was working as an undercover secret service in Aleppo, Syria.

She withdrew $20,000 from her IRA account and purchased a cashier’s check on January 29, 2016, and deposited the check in the bank account of a man who the offender said was his associate. A short time later, the offender told the Buffalo Grove woman he needed an additional $25,000 to pay legal fees and to cover the remainder of the missing money. She deposited a second cashier’s check for $25,000 into the same bank account.

When she became suspicious, the offender told her to contact his son in New York and she spoke with someone claiming to be the offender’s 18-year-old son. The offender also told the woman that he lived in Antioch when he wasn’t on assignment. The woman checked the address in Antioch, Illinois, and disovered a “For Rent” sign at the property. She stopped corresponding with the offender, and notified the police.

The total of $45,000 is believed to be a loss, and in addition, the woman has been billed $5,022 for fees and taxes for a total loss of $50,022.

“Starting in 2013, U.S. citizens sending money overseas can transfer up to $14,000 in U.S. currency as a gift, without regards to the gift taxes, says Katherine Gragg, an enrolled agent at Greenback Expat Tax Services, an expat tax advisory headquartered in New York. Once a sender goes over that threshold, they may be subject to gift taxes on the amount over $14,000.”

— Western Union

According to Western Union, the biggest concern when sending money abroad is the gift tax. While it differs from country to country, the same basic principle applies: When individuals send more than a predetermined amount to the same individual within a year, they must file a return with their respective governing body.

As part of the Bank Secrecy Act, the U.S. government may launch investigations when large sums of money are transferred

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In its 2014 annual report, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center reported 5,883 incidents of online “romance scams” resulting in the theft of $86.7 million. The vast majority of romance scam victims were women older than 40.

The Internet Crime Complaint Center, also known as IC3, is a multi-agency task force made up by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C), and the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA).

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