Valladolid: A couple on trial for a love scam that bilked the ‘boyfriend’ of 225,000 euros

A member of the Technological Investigation Brigade of the National Police. / efe

The defendants contacted the victim through a dating application and invented a humanitarian mission in Haiti and an urgent repatriation

M. J. Pascual

This time it is not about a soldier on a peacekeeping mission or a sailor in dire need of money to be able to fly to Spain and marry under the promise of eternal love, but a woman on a humanitarian mission in Haiti in serious danger and in need of resources to an urgent repatriation. Her Valladolid lover, who was captured by the alleged scammers through the Badoo dating portal, transferred to her accounts (and those of her partner and her son) amounts that add up to more than 225,000 euros according to the Prosecutor’s Office, which will request in the trial to each of the defendants sentenced to five years in prison for a continued crime of fraud and compensation that equals the amount of the fraud. It is the first love scam on the Internet that will be judged by the Second Section of the Court of Valladolid next Thursday, September 29.

According to the indictment, María José Cobo Miranda, married to José Muñoz Díaz “in a concerted manner” contacted her victim through the dating page at the end of 2008. She introduced herself as Sonia María Covadonga Miranda and began a relationship with the man through Messenger and Whatsapp, with daily conversations. Thus, the defendants “created an affective and trusting relationship through messages to obtain multiple incomes and money transfers in her favor” between January 21 and September 4, 2019.

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They made their victim believe that her name was Sonia and that they had a romantic relationship, although at a distance “to request and obtain multiple incomes,” according to the Prosecutor’s Office

To get money, the defendants made the ‘boyfriend’ believe that his ‘girlfriend’ was called Sonia and that he had “sentimental availability at the time of meeting her” and that “they had a romantic relationship, although at a distance”. In addition, “by mutual agreement and to achieve transfers of money in her favor”, the woman alleged peremptory and urgent economic needs “thus causing transfers of money in her accounts”.

Among the stories that were released to the Valladolid lover is that of Haiti. They told her that she had traveled there on a humanitarian mission and that she needed money for her urgent repatriation, that they were going to make the trip together, that she would buy a flat for both of them, and even that she had to undergo an emergency operation at the Quirón Clinic. of a breast tumor. The ‘boyfriend’ made the requested financial contributions “based on that false belief of helping his partner and understanding that the situations for which he was asked to pay money were true and also urgent.”

To gain credibility, a sister and a friend of ‘Sonia’ were invented, who became virtual confidants of the victim, although in reality it was the accused who spoke to her online

The indictment details that, in order to give credibility to the story, the accused created the figures of the sister of ‘Sonia’, whom they called ‘Inmaculada’ and a friend, whom they named ‘Lucía Navarro Guzmán’ . By posing as them, communicating by written messages, the defendants managed to make these fictitious people confidants of the victim of the scam and “used them to excuse the constant excuses of ‘Sonia’ to avoid an appointment in person and give reality to what that she exhibited.

The money deliveries have been happening since September. The first, 450 euros for a trip that he was going to take but that he later did not do because he gave the excuse of the death of a direct relative, which was false. Since then, the trickle of income in the four bank accounts of the accused and their son in two entities totaled 225,760 euros, of which the two defendants appropriated.

According to the Prosecutor’s Office, the facts constitute a continuing crime of fraud, aggravated by the entity of the damage and the economic situation in which it leaves the victim. of which both defendants are authors. It requests for each of them that they be sentenced to five years in prison, a fine for nine months with a daily fee of 10 euros and subsidiary personal liability in case of non-payment, in addition to the costs of the trial and payment to the victim of a solidarity compensation of 225,760 euros plus interest.