(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Dozens of Israeli women were allegedly deceived into paying an American doctor thousands of dollars, according to a report on Ynet.
The doctor contacted the women through Facebook and, after courting them, promised to marry them and move to Israel.
The doctor presented himself as someone who worked for the US military and was serving in the Middle East. During the courtship, he would also tell the women that he was a “well-to-do man” with many properties and was looking for a partner.
“He wrote to me that he was a widower with a small child who lived in America and was looking for a relationship with an Israeli woman,” one victim told Ynet.
Using Facebook as his primary tool, the doctor targeted new immigrants from the former Soviet Union, divorcees, widows or women who were unable to integrate into society.
The doctor would establish a connection with these women and then ask them to transfer sums of up to $6,000 in the following months.
“At one point, he told me he needed $2,000 and he would return the money when he came to visit me in Israel and I transferred the money. He was very interested in my life, he cared about me. I deeply cared for a loving relationship,” said Natalia (pseudonym), a divorcee who works as a doctor at a health clinic.
That was just the beginning. As the relationship continued, Natalia was convinced to transfer an additional $6,000 when a friend of the doctor called her claiming the doctor was in trouble at Istanbul airport.
Customs officials had seized a $50,000 package and the doctor needed $3,000 to release it, she was told.
“He said he would fly to Israel and give me back the money. I believed him. Then there was another request for $700 for a hotel and he asked me for my account number to transfer me the money. The situation looked suspicious, and I realized I was dealing with a crook so I refused to transfer the money,” she said.
A second victim told Ynet she was told the doctor would do anything for her, including moving to Israel upon the completion of his UN mission in Libya. He then asked for $5,000 for his son, 2,000 Euros and $1,000 for a hotel.
When the money dried up, the doctor would threaten the victims over the phone.
“This is a doctor who is part of a global network of crooks, who exploited the innocence of Israeli women who were looking for love and relationship,” said Israel Arieli, a former intelligence officer in the Israel Police who helped the victims.
The women, with the help of Arieli, filed a complaint at the Tel Aviv district of the National Fraud Investigations Unit, which is part of the Lahav 433 unit.
Arieli said he does not think Israeli police will be able to apprehend the doctor due to his location, but he suspects the evidence gathered will be passed along to the relevant bodies in other countries.