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Wife fell in love with a romance scammer

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michael75 posted 12/3/2020 19:55 PM

I have been happily married for 21 years. 2 months ago my wife and I decided to get a home refinance loan to update our house. We deposited a $48,000 check into our bank accounts. Shortly thereafter, I came home from work to find my 19-year-old daughter crying. She had found a romantic text on mom's phone that was not from me. I confronted my wife about this, and she admitted to being in an online relationship with a guy who had contacted her on Facebook messenger. I also discovered that he was supposedly a UN doctor stationed in Syria who had a son going to school in Nigeria. Long story short, I discovered that my wife had been wiring money, sending new Iphones, and Itunes gift cards to Nigeria. My wife finally gave me a picture of this man. After running a google facial recognition search, I discovered it was a stolen picture. I showed my wife the data proving that this man was a romance scammer. She started crying because she realized that the person that she was in love with was not real. I told her that I forgave her and that I thought we could work together to make our marriage better. I thought that this was the end of her communicating with online romantic scammers.

Two weeks later, I was at work and I decided to check our bank accounts. I discovered that there was a $15,000 and a $5,000 withdraw from our bank accounts. I called my wife to ask her about this. She said that the $5,000 was donated to a church and a school in California and that she still had the $15,000. After I hung up the phone, I made an appointment with a lawyer. I told the lawyer my situation, and that I did not want to divorce my wife because I loved her and was worried about her. My wife had been going through a lot of stress related to her physical health and family issues. She had experienced an auditory hallucination and was seeing a therapist and a psychiatrist. I suspected that my wife was experiencing a delusional disorder or some kind of psychosis. My lawyer informed me that I should move all of the money to an account that my wife did not have access to. Before I could get it moved, she withdrew $10,500 in cash. After looking through my wife's emails, I discovered that she sent $10,500 in cash via overnight FedEx to a person in Atlanta. There have also been multiple 1000 dollar purchases at Walmart. I later discovered that these were Itunes gift cards. The entire $48,000 from our home refinance was gone. I then found out that my wife had withdrew $60,000 from her retirement account. She told me that she no longer loved me and that she was in love with someone else. She also accused me of cheating and physically abusing her. I have never done either of these things. I was devastated.

At this point, I filed for divorce. I also served my wife with a court order that prevented both her from spending any marital assets on things other than normal household upkeep. One day after I served her with this court order, she sent another $5,000 in cash to Atlanta via FedEx. I informed her that she could go to jail for violating the court order. She became mad and told me that she would tell the court that I had abused her and that I was being investigated for molesting my daughter.

This has been incredibly hard on me. I still love my wife so much and I think that she has delusional disorder. I have proven to her multiple times that the people she has been involved with are scammers. Multiple times she has broken down crying and told me that she was done with the scammers. However, days later she is again sending money. She also told me that the compassion and love that one of these guys has given her in three months is more that I gave her during our entire marriage. I emailed her mental healthcare providers with all of this information. However, I feel like they are not listening. One mental health care provider told her that she is just too trusting of others.

We are currently in a 90-day waiting period for the divorce. I still hold out hope that we will reconcile. The other day I wrote my wife a love letter. I told her that I would work on making her feel more special, that I forgave her, and that the money can be replaced. She said that some part of her still loved me and that she would be go to a therapist to work on our marriage. A couple of days later, I told her that I want nothing more to spend time with her and work on our marriage, but I needed her to break all ties with her online love interest. She informed me that she could not do this because she loves him. She informed me that he cares very much about her and that they talk everyday. I am heart broken. My wife is choosing a Nigerian romance scammer over me and I cannot do anything about it. As I was crying in front of her one day, she said "can't we just be good friends?" She also tells me that she does not like hurting me.

I feel so sorry for my wife. She thinks that she found a compassionate man who really cares about her. She is clearly mentally not well. She will be so devastated when she eventually discovers that this guy is not real. I keep thinking that if I can just prove to her that this guy is a scammer, that she will come to her senses. Then I remember that I have done this three times in the last couple of months, and that she only temporarily came to her senses. To me, anger is an easier emotion to deal with than despair. I wish that I could feel anger towards my wife instead of pity and sadness. I am so confused and tired.

SnowToArmPits posted 12/3/2020 21:02 PM

Can you involve family and friends to talk some sense into her, and look after her?

Buffer posted 12/3/2020 21:02 PM

Well so sorry to read of your plight.
Clearly she is having a psychotic episode and that she has left the marriage. Time to let her realise that she is being scammed. Cut her loose. When she can’t eat or live rent free as her love will not fill her bank account she will then realise the truth. She has to hit rock bottom to truly understand.
You can’t shelter her from her mistakes. Let the court know of her actions in donating the marriage funds going against the courts direction.
One day at a time.

The1stWife posted 12/3/2020 21:53 PM

You see this stuff all the time in talk shows like Dr Phil.

The person being victimyand scammed just doesn’t see it. They are caught up in the fantasy and believe these people are real.

The only thing you can do is financially protect yourself.

You can talk ‘til you are blue in the face but she won’t listen. I’m sorry for you. And her too.

Questioningall posted 12/3/2020 22:04 PM

If you’re in the US, you might look into NAMI (national alliance on mental illness) to see if they have any resources to help you and your daughter (and any other kids) live with your wife’s mental illness.

Thumos posted 12/3/2020 22:33 PM

If the mental health professionals are not diagnosing her as having any sort of serious disorder, you can seek second and third opinions — but I would trust that they are able make that determination.

If she’s not truly mentally ill, then she is just being selfish and you are dealing with both romantic and financial infidelity and some sort of sad midlife crisis.

Let her go to experience the dark path she so desires, rather than drag you down in the mire with her.

Bigger posted 12/4/2020 03:41 AM

Have you asked your attorney about getting some form of financial restraining order in place other than opening your own account?
I’m not certain of the legal terms or process but basically it places the family’s finances in the hands of someone that is neutral and responsible. Since divorce is by definition a confrontation between 2 people that might be an unbiased or neutral attorney or court official who then can distribute funds according to legitimate and rational needs. It’s a bit of a hassle but IMHO it will definitely be better than the financial hole she’s burying you both in.
Irrespective of how this ends – divorce or reconciliation – I’m worried about the financial consequences. Not only are you nearly 50k in the hole regarding your home, but your WW pension is 60k off PLUS the potential tax for early withdrawal – that alone might be 15-20k off that 60k.

Depending on how you two have filed then you might be (at least partially) accountable for that tax. After all – the withdrawal was made while married. This is something I would want to be prepared for and possibly clear of the consequences and how to mitigate them.

Totally irrespective of how this goes – R or D – I strongly suggest you take extreme measures to limit your WW ability to further spend cash. Remove her name off any accounts you might manage, change passwords to online banking, get your credit reports to see the present situation and ensure that your wife knows that all and any credit-cards will fall squarely on her. Even better then do what you can to prevent her from getting new cards or accounts.

I would also consider contacting local and even federal law enforcement and ask for the fraud and financial department. Ask them for their advice. I’m guessing the money is already gone, but maybe they can scare off the recipient in Atlanta.

DanielJK posted 12/4/2020 06:56 AM

I believe the secret service arm of the treasury department handles foreign fraud.

Not sure if it will help, but if you google "reporting fraud to the treasury department" you may be able to expose the fraud. It's a long shot, the scammers are good at what they do.

I wish there was more I could do to help. This is no way for you to live, something has to give. I would keep pushing on the mental health help and secure the $. Once the $ dries up, the Nigerian prince will disappear.

faithfulman posted 12/4/2020 07:30 AM

This is a sad one. It does not appear your wife is a typical cheater. It seems like she needs medical help.

Meanwhile you have to protect yourself and your family because there is no way to trust her.

jb3199 posted 12/4/2020 08:01 AM

Everything that Bigger said as it pertains to finances. Everything(financially) that the two of you have worked for your entire marriage is being consumed in a few months time. There is a strong chance that this money will not be recoverable....no matter what your wife's diagnosis turns out to be. You have to protect yourself.

Also, stop offering her forgiveness so quickly. Would it have been okay if it was NOT a scammer, and she truly fell for someone else? Where is her commitment to you?

BluerThanBlue posted 12/4/2020 08:47 AM

I know divorce is the last thing you want, but you absolutely must proceed with it. Your #1 priority must be protecting yourself and your daughter.

Your wife is bringing you to the brink of ruin and for all you know she could be funding or engaging in illegal activity at the behest of this scammer. The fact that she might not be aware that she’s breaking law will not save her in court. You don’t want to get dragged down with her and lose whatever you have left that she hasn’t squandered.

Also, you seem to be glossing over this but... she’s accused you of being a wife beater and molestor! this woman is NOT safe for you to be around or be in contact with for anymore than necessary. You need to talk to your lawyer about these allegations and protect yourself. Stop trying to reconcile, stop arguing with her, hell, stop calling her out about her spending. All of your dealings with her from this point forward need to be through an attorney.

Lalagirl posted 12/4/2020 09:21 AM

Also, you seem to be glossing over this but... she’s accused you of being a wife beater and molestor! this woman is NOT safe for you to be around or be in contact with for anymore than necessary. You need to talk to your lawyer about these allegations and protect yourself. Stop trying to reconcile, stop arguing with her, hell, stop calling her out about her spending. All of your dealings with her from this point forward need to be through an attorney.

^^^THIS!

Stay away from her. If you must be around her, carry a VAR with you at all times. It would not surprise me if she hurt herself, took pictures, and reported you to the police.

Document everything.

The1stWife posted 12/4/2020 10:10 AM

It would not surprise me if she hurt herself, took pictures, and reported you to the police.

This happened to my oldest friend. His wife had him arrested and in handcuffs and he would have spent time in jail except his teenagers vouched he never touched her and she gave herself the injuries.

Because he took her keys to prevent her from driving drunk.

No contact. None. Do not put yourself in jeopardy. And if you must meet it is in a public place with 10 witnesses around. And you have a voice activated recorder on at all times.

RealityBlows posted 12/4/2020 13:01 PM

I believe the OP already filed a financial restraining order but, that alone isn’t going to stop the money from leaving the accounts, it only provides consequences for it leaving and once gone she’s responsible for replacement but, she probably isn’t capable of replacing it. So obviously, more needs to be done to secure the family coffers with attorney guidance.

Get a VAR and a home security camera system to protect yourself from false DV charges. Both are inexpensive and can be put in service today.

There could also be a physiological component that results in various forms of psychosis. It would be great to get these investigated. Her practitioners are going to need information, prodding and direction. This will be difficult with privacy laws. The mental health system of care in this country is a shambles, pretty much totally dysfunctional unless you have someone committed into a VERY expensive private facility. Even the private facilities are overwhelmed. I would report all behavior abnormalities to both her mental health team and her primary care physician. If she makes any comments related to danger to self and others, she can be deemed mentally incompetent and placed on a hold for a period of time-determined by your state of origin, pending medical and mental health evaluation.

I would closely follow attorney guidance on all of the above.

tushnurse posted 12/4/2020 13:54 PM

Also, you seem to be glossing over this but... she’s accused you of being a wife beater and molestor! this woman is NOT safe for you to be around

Dude talk to your attorney about this immediately. If you are in a 1person consent state keep a VAR on you at all times.
She is unwell. But you could end up being the one in jail if you don't protect yourself.

Anna123 posted 12/4/2020 19:16 PM

Please follow the advice already given! She may falsely accuse you of horrible things going forward. Make sure your lawyer has this documented as a witness as well, involve the family as witnesses, and document all proof of the financial marital theft. The Fed Ex bill, bank withdrawals emails, any and everything.

She should no longer have ANY access to any funds other than what you directly supply her with. Check with your lawyer but better for her to try to take legal action than spend your life savings. Freeze both of your credits as well.

After all of this, then you can continue to look into helping her with her mental health issues. The sooner this is documented and treated the better.

Take care.

Marz posted 12/4/2020 19:44 PM

Stop doing the pick me dance. It’ll just make this worse.

michael75 posted 12/5/2020 22:30 PM

Thank you everyone for your advice. I thought that my the court order was going to stop my wife from sending more money to the scammer. I just found out that she sent another $16,000 yesterday. What is this guy saying that gets her to send this much money?

I have asked my attorney to file a contempt of court application. I feel a little guilty for doing this. However, I don't see any other option.

Buffer posted 12/6/2020 01:06 AM

Respect ✊

The1stWife posted 12/6/2020 06:23 AM

You don’t have many options.

You either protect yourself or be wiped out financially .

Think of this like an addiction. She’s addicted to the lovebombing this guy (if it’s a guy, could be a girl pretending to be a guy) throws her way.

He most likely is “stuck” in his country or needs to pay estate taxes to be able to come see her.

Just know the behavior is like an addiction. The victim or addict will do anything to keep this “romance” alive.

I am do sorry for you. But please protect yourself in whatever way necessary. No one wants to be the bad guy but you should not end up broke b/c your wife is not seeing the reality of this situation.

[This message edited by The1stWife at 6:24 AM, December 6th (Sunday)]

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