Chico grandma: I was scammed out of $100,000 while online dating

Dec 13, 2013 6:32 PM

Teri Hoover, 53, says she was swept off her feet last December, after a meeting a man from Colorado. She says the man claimed to be from Colorado, and called himself John Walsh. He seemed perfect. He was 59, an engineer, and wanted to build a life with her. She invited him to Chico for New Year's Eve, but he said he had to go to Ghana for a work project, but only for 6 weeks. Once in Ghana, he told her his bank account had been compromised, and he couldn't get any money out. So she started wiring him money for things like a computer, iPhone, various fines he claimed to face, other bills, and even to bring his adopted grandson to Ghana to go to school.
Hoover questioned him several times, and says Walsh would send her pictures of himself. When she discovered they were photoshopped, he said there was some mistake, and seemed to have an explanation for everything.
She was warned by her friends, family, and co-workers that he wasn't who he claimed to be. But Hoover says she still chose to believe her new online boyfriend wouldn't lie to her. Finally, a year after sending him more than $100,000, Tri-Counties Bank told her they could not allow her to wire any more money to the African country. She demanded Walsh get on his webcam and reveal himself. When he did, she discovered he was a citizen of the Republic of Ghana, and was only 25 years old. Hoover has filed reports with the Butte County Sheriff's Office, and the FBI. She's hoping to have him banned from ever receiving money from the U.S. again. She also hopes that sharing her story will help others avoid falling into the same trap.


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