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Topic : 08/11 Conned by a Con Artist

Number of Replies: 256
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Created on : Friday, December 09, 2005, 03:59:23 pm
Author : DrPhilBoard1

(Original Air Date: 12/12/05) You may have heard, "If something is too good to be true, it probably is." Dr. Phil's guests learned this lesson the hard way. Sandra thought she was marrying a bachelor with whom she would spend the rest of her life. What she didn't know was that she was being conned, and that when she tied the knot, she would be wife number seven! See what happens when Sandra and wife number six get together. Why is Dr. Phil concerned with the way they are coping with their pain? Then, when Coni met Paul, he claimed he owned a business, had a Ph.D. and was an Air Force Major. But the life he detailed was all a big lie. Now that Coni has put her husband behind bars, she fears he's plotting revenge. What does Dr. Phil think? Plus, a former FBI profiler shares the signs to look for so you don't become a con man's next target. Talk about the show here.

Find out what happened on the show.


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March 2, 2008, 12:06 pm CST

Conned by a conman!

Hi there.  I am an intelligent, normal, forward moving individual with good friends and great children.  I am a single parent and I have recently fallen prey to a con artist.  My purpose for posting is two-fold.  One as a warning and one to ask for help. 
First, the warning - the women out there.  Do not do what I did.  Do not ignore your gut instincts about the people in your life.  Do not think you are too smart or too suspicious to ever get conned.  I have learned that ANYONE can be conned....Anyone!  You are never too smart to be fooled ladies...if you are very cautious and watchful, it would just take a smarter conman to get one over on YOU but it is possible.  These are cunning and manipulative individuals who SEEM as genuine and sincere as the most upstanding person you have ever met.
Secondly, I need some help.  I do not know where to go from here.  I was already on a tight budget but, living life and getting by before this person came into my life and stole $20,000 from me.  I am now depressed and distraught and I don't know what to do.  Legally, I have few options unless I want to sue him in civil court and that costs $$$ - Money that I no longer have.  I am depressed that my lifestyle has changed and I can now no longer spend even $5 more than I have budgetted for groceries or I will not be able to make my monthly bills.  I am depressed that I was so used and abused and betrayed and I am depressed because, for the first time ever in my life, I am really wishing for real harm to come to another human being (guilt!) and I am also depressed because I am filled with such shame and embarassment.  Essentially, all I want to know from anyone out there who has had an experience like this is "How Do I Get Past This And Move On With My Life????"  I probably need counselling because I am very depressed but, I can no longer afford these kinds of resources so I am hoping that some advice from "someone who has been there" can help me in this journey.  I KNOW there is a way to come out of this BETTER than I was before this happened - I just cannot see how I am going to get myself through until I reach that point.  I don't care about anything anymore and I feel very dispondent and hopeless.  Please help if you have any words of encouragement or hope you can offer me.  Thank you.
March 7, 2008, 11:37 pm CST

Conned into marriage & out of my money

I have been trying to get the law changed regarding people who con people into marriage & out of their money, or if they have conned them into a relationship & again out of their money. I also want to change the law regarding annulments, I feel that if your marriage is a con, then you should be able to get an annulmnet. I have a long way to go, but just telling stories is no good, we should all get together & make a stand for proper protection & for these people to go to prison for what they have done. Anyone wishing to do this should contact me.
April 14, 2008, 10:02 pm CDT

I was conned by a con-artist too!


I read the story of the Mrs. Hicks and the tips for avoiding a con-man by the FBI agent.  

The thing that struck me the most was the way these con-men, have the same modus operandi and apparently the same personality flaws.  

Although the fact that other woman have also gone through the same thing gives me comfort, I am also angered that these men feel that they can callously treat women this way and get away with it – no consideration for anyone else along with complete arrogance.  

I was also the victim of a con-man – I met him online when I was lonely and overworked in a foreign city.  We met and he listened carefully – told me everything that I wanted to hear.  The fact that I had a good job, a well-off family and a house in my home country were obviously of interest to him.  

He proposed immediately with a ring, and waxed lyrical about all his grandiose plans and financial windfalls.  I was also between homes with my possessions in storage – couch-surfing as my new place had fallen through at the eleventh hour. I began staying with him and eventually moved in.  10 days into the relationship I accidentally fell pregnant (broken condom and morning-after pill that failed to work.)  

Three weeks into the relationship my job was in jeopardy.  I was pregnant – emotional and tired and not myself.  His treatment of me began to degenerate – unexplained absences, constant going out, no accountability, demeaning comments.  

I began to realize what he had presented himself as was a lie, I had questions about the businesses he professed to have.  I began to realize his friends were actually only acquaintances or people he had met only in the last few weeks.  His drinking was escalating and his temper was beginning to show.  

I discovered I was pregnant – here I am in a foreign city, no friends, work on the line, dependent upon him for my housing and wracked with emotion about being pregnant.  I had been told by doctors I may have trouble falling pregnant due to irregular periods, I bonded with my child and decided to go ahead with having it, despite my partner’s increasingly apparent lies, violence , infidelity and anger.  

Fortunately, one night I came to the realization that I would be raising this child alone, if I was to do that I would return to my home country where I would have the support of family.  But I knew that he would fight me tooth and nail, try and wring money out of me, and also that his genes would be responsible for 50% of this child. I made the gut-wrenching decision to terminate – I was broken-hearted, grief-stricken and in pain.    

The following month was a haze of painkillers and alcohol, I stopped doing my job, barely left the house; was on a path of self-destruction. My partner didn’t care, and continued to live his life as a single man with my presence in his life and house a mere hindrance.  I was demoted at work.  

I went home for a week, and then returned, ready to make a fresh start with him.  I was embarrassed and too proud to admit I had made a mistake.  My life in this foreign city was dependent upon him; my home, social life and a degree of financial dependence.  

Things did not improve.   Finally it got the point where his infidelities were made blatantly obvious to me.  I attempted to move out that night, the situation turned violent and he was arrested for assault and battery and he was issued with a temporary restraining order.  I moved out and made the restraining order permanent.  

The following months were nightmarish – I was recovering from the relationship, discovering new and terrible things about him daily. He had been consistently committing infidelity without protection – trawling on the internet and using prostitutes, he had given me Chlamydia, his business and financial situation was bogus, he had a felonious criminal record.  He waged a campaign against me spreading lies to mutual friends, trying to get me fired from my job (my visa to stay in the US was tied to my job), sending my friends and family dreadful emails full of lies – having my father in tears and my mother in shock.  I discovered he had tried to steal my identity – and had to close down all my accounts.  I discovered he was an active career criminal - dealing drugs, identity theft, tax evasion, assault, as well as committing mortgage fraud and putting his own mother in bankruptcy!    

I tracked down ex-girlfriends and heard dreadful stories of physical and sexual abuse (including raping one girlfriend within weeks of having an abortion so she fell pregnant again and massively hemorraghed following a second termination).  Stealing and fraud and financial abuse.  Many terminated pregnancies. STDs.  The list went on and on.  

I was furious – with him and with myself.  I was suffering PTSD, and unable to function at work and was demoted a second time.  I wanted to follow through with having the charges pressed, but there was inconsistencies between the witness accounts and the prosecutor  explained to me the things the defense lawyer would be bringing up in court – it would be my past and my person on trial.  At the eleventh hour I dropped the charges.  

I was shattered – a bundle of nerves, nightmares, constant crying, fear of leaving the house, panic attacks, disrupted sleep and eating patterns .  

I had sought help during the relationship and continued with the counseling, as well as taking anti-depressants.  My living situation turned untenable again when I discovered my new roommate abused recreational drugs and her boyfriend was a homeless meth addict living in a rehab facility to avoid serving time in jail for assault charges.  I moved out and in with another friend, her roommate proved to also be predatory.  

Fortunately, I met my current partner through my old roommate.  We knew each other as friends, and after this last living situation he made his apartment available to me as a sanctuary when I needed it.  Having a safe place with someone who was caring and expected nothing in return was a god-send.  It had been six months since my relationship with my conman ex had ended.  I had not yet found the stability I needed to get back on my feet.  

I made the decision to return to my home country, my friend came with me as our friendship had blossomed into a fantastic relationship.  He was caring, thoughtful, kind, transparent with his life and past, honest, patient with me, funny and understanding.  Best of all, he is present in every moment we are together.  My friends and family all give him a big thumbs up, and are thrilled and relieved that I have met someone who makes me happy and is genuinely concerned about my well-being.  

I continue to have counseling and remain on anti-depressants but am gradually decreasing the dose as our life together becomes more stable.  Getting regular exercise, enough sleep and eating well are paramount in getting through and getting over an experience like this.  Surrounding yourself with loved ones and friends who only have your best interests at heart – friends who can listen, but also know when to just have a laugh and enjoy the day are crucial to the recovery process.  

I can barely believe I went through that dreadful experience – that a four month relationship could be so painful and destructive.  The way I look at it now, is that it led me to my current partner and helped me realize how extremely important it is to have your family and friends around you, to make sure you have somewhere that is a safe sanctuary.  

I am forever grateful to the SFPD and the DA’s office for their kindness and consideration in what was the darkest period of my life.  

They assured me that the arrest and the restraining order will remain on his record.  I found out through the grapevine his house is listed for short-sale, his “business” has folded, he has moved home with his parents at age 33 and instead of gallivanting around San Francisco living the high-life, he is now working for an hourly wage at Home Depot – huge lifestyle change for him!  My friends alerted the websites he used to trawl for women about him, and he has been banned from all of them – hopefully preventing another woman from having the same experience I had with him.  

Most of all I want to say to all women out there – listen to your gut-feeling, what the FBI Agent says is spot-on, know that the authorities are there to help you and many services to support you.  YOU ARE NOT ALONE.  And afterwards, as you put your life back together – things will get better, this time will pass.  

I am an extremely well-educated young woman with many opportunities and I come from a well-off, well-educated, close-knit family and this happened to me.  YOU are the victim here, it is NOT your fault.  These men are parasites - conning vulnerable, kind, normal citizens is their life’s work – don’t allow him to rob you of the happiness and peace you deserve in your life.  Stand up for yourself, get him out of your life, do what you can to liaise with the authorities and move on!  If you can get through something like this, you can get through anything – the world is your oyster!  

July 28, 2008, 11:43 am CDT

conned into marriage

I was asked to marry in a hurry. Floored me. Was treated good. But everthing fell in my lap. This man was in debt. I wasn't. I had & still have a A1 credit. I had my own home all secure, I blew it now if anything happens he gets 50%. His debt is paid because his mom leaving money when died. I helped too. I am so disappointed because there were red flags and I didn't stand back. I felt I was the only one not married. I was better alone in my home (paradise)

November 14, 2008, 5:33 pm CST

08/11 Conned by a Con Artist

Quote From: cherylg25

I married a man in 1980 who said he was an attorney, just coming out of a divorce.  He was the sweetest, caring, compassionate, loving, respectful man I had met in a long time.  My story is a very long one, quite painful and regrettable.  But once I learned that I didn't have to be held in emotional captivity anymore;  I didn't care how many times I heard destructive criticism or felt the physical violence; one day I found the courage to say no, he is not going to hurt me anymore.  Love in a marriage isn't enough.  I hoped and prayed he would become a better man and learn that it is so much easier to choose right over wrong but he didn't get any better.  One of the many issues that I did not deal with in counseling was how to not let what other people think of me matter.  Many many people think that the spouse is always guilty by association, just because they are married to the person.  That is so so not true.  That may be the case in some instances, but not mine.  I still feel the shame that I gave my entire heart and soul to this man.  He abused me, physically and emotionally, he neglected me, and he loved his drug and alcohol habits and impressing people with who he really wanted to be, because he hated himself so much, he didn't want anyone to know he was a bad guy.  He had numerous issues, many that he should have worked out in therapy with his family before he ever met me, but that was not the case.  If I can be of help to anyone, I would love to save just one person from the degradation and the turmoil that surrounds the air that you will breathe.  There are endless questions that I will never have answers for and I have problems dealing with the unknown, but I have to learn to accept that I will probably never know because he doesn't really know either. 


I have experienced something very similar to you. I wasnt married to the man, but still I lived with him for 5 years. I knew he was a recovering addict and I met him in college. He swept him off my feet of course and we became inseparable. I was separated from my husband and had just lost my bio family all tragically. I also had a huge inheritance. The roller coaster began. He relapsed and all my caretaker habits kicked in. Before I knew it, he was a full time job. I believe he is also borderline/narcissist/sociopath as well. I went through the worst possible lying, manipulation, gaslighting physical abuse imaginable. He played on my sympathy so often. He became like a drug to me.Before I knew it, I was using drugs with him. I had never used before him. Something insane happened to me. Since he was always disappearing, taking my cars I guess i rationalized using with him so that he would stay around! Real dumb. I dont do that anymore. He was begging marriage, and I got to be friends with his family before things reallygot out of hand. I was always responsable. My kids were grown for the most part away from home, except one son. The abuse we both endured is sad. I always covered for him and forgave him. He ended up withdrawing money from accounts I had for my children. All together about $400,000. So much damage. He would not leave. He was finally escorted out and ended up in jail for something else. I wish I had pressed charges  for embezzlement and domestic violence. Too late now. He begged me not to leave him and promised he would make it up to me. I moved across the state,  with the desire to start everything over. So naive, I thought he would be better off the drugs. He got sober and all but he got worse. He went from calling me 5 times a day to nothing and then a letter saying it was over. That we had too much past. He become a sponsor to addicts and is doing ok now. He had promised me several times he would make amends. Now he tells me to get over it or go die somewhere, that he had never loved me. This was a year ago. A few ugly emails from him since and acting as if nothing had ever happened, that he didnt steal my money, even though Merrill Lynch fraud dept caught him and so did my lawyer. I cant afford to sue him now and I am having a hard time surviving emotionally. PTSD hit me hard. I have such low self esteem and Iam lonely. He is a very clever one and I was so trusting. How can people sleep with stuff like that? I dont think he really feels anything for anyone but is a master of masquerades. It still hurts terribly knowing that I was in love with a fraud, an illusion.

May 11, 2009, 9:27 pm CDT and male predators

I am compelled to let women know that meeting a man via any online dating service is very risky.  Five years ago I tried for the first time.  Within a few weeks I received a reply from a college professor who shared many of my hobbies.  I knew people from the University and inquired about his character, those people told me they felt he was a decent fellow.  Our first 3 dates were spectacular and we hit it off instantly.  Within 6 months we were engaged and living together.  A year into the relationship I sold my home and we decided to purchase a small acreage nearer to where he worked.  The mortgage had to be put in my name because he had some previous financial diffulculties from a 23 year marriage. Long story short, after 4 years he gave me a 2 week notice that he was moving out because he wasn't happy.  (It became known that he was dating a student).  He left me with a $150,000 mortgage and 10 acres to manage and keep up.  Within 2 months he was back online on and met another woman (oh, the student dumped him after classes were over).  After meeting his online woman, he was engaged to her within 6 months, after a year she dumped him.  He attempted to come back to me and cried crocadile tears telling me that he made a big mistake.  Within a week after telling me that, he was on again and had met a wealthy widow, who was living in a $350,000 home.  Within 6 weeks he took her to meet his parents in another state and within 8 months he married her!  This is not normal behavior.  What is so sad is that this widow was warned about his previous relationships and abusive marriage, but she choose to marry this guy.  He has found his pot of gold at the expense of many women who he claimed to love.  He now is living like a king with no remorse whatsoever about the emotional abuse he put several women threw.  So ladies, BEWARE, online dating is not safe.
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