Teen internet dating fraud
But although her husband knew she had been on a dating website, the couple operated a “don’t ask, don’t tell” approach within their marriage and Mrs Cook had told no one about her online relationship with Steven. “I just thought, 'Oh no, what have I got myself into here? “I wanted to get my money back, and you end up thinking, well, if there is million there, it doesn’t matter having to spend money as I will get my money back once the suitcases are released.” Now dealing solely by telephone with the contact in Ghana, who told her that Steven was without internet access in Iraq, Mrs Cook became embroiled in a lengthy process to get her money back.Like a gambler trying to recoup her losses, the amount she was willing to spend to try to solve the problems rose — £100,000 for “legal fees”, £40,000 for “customs costs” and many thousands more.Over months of online chatting she felt that she was really getting to know the American soldier, who went by the name of Steven Westmore.He told her he was a year younger than her, and was ready to leave the army.
“You look back and think, 'How could I be so stupid?
“I paid £500 for a 'visa’ and then someone just came to collect me from the airport and took me straight through customs — I suppose people at the airport were in on it, too.” She was driven to a lavish house on the outskirts of the capital, Accra.