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Messenger from October 2006 through February 2007, Walter, a self-described white collar engineer and college sports enthusiast, ended up taking the spellbound Meade for the ride of her life.“We were going to get married,” she recalls, fighting back tears.“But, then, he told me he had lost his job, was laid off, and that he was in need.
Later, when she puzzled over their relationship, she'd remember this. That had been a fateful move; it made everything easier for him. After the funeral, a grief counselor told her to make no sudden changes in her life for at least a year, and she followed that advice.
He put himself through college, and after working as a Nigerian soap opera actor and door-to-door men’s clothing salesman, he clawed his way into journalism.
Before that, he used to hang out with nomadic cow-herding kids, children who sell bottled water by the roadside, and budding scam artists.
So, I did what I would have done for any man I was invested in like that.
I gave him the money.”After transferring ,000 to Walter’s bank account from her own savings account, Meade says her chats with the man became less frequent, and finally, stopped altogether.“I was taken for a fool,” Meade said, “and I was heartbroken.”But, while Walter had fallen on hard times, a Nigerian man thousands of miles away was making a killing as part of an operation of scammers who target men and women into romantic relationships only to leave them high and dry.