ALBANY, GA (WALB) – Dorothy Baker received an e-mail last April that she thought would change her life for the better.
"He started writing me on the computer saying he was looking for a companion. He said he was looking for a woman and I was tired of being alone, too," Baker said.
She exchanged e-mails with who she thought was a man from Ohio named Larry Forrest. He even had a Facebook page. But "Larry" was interested in more than a pen pal.
"When it came time for him to come over here, he wanted money," said Baker.
He told Baker he was in South Africa and needed a way home before they could start their life together. The claimed to work for a bank but was homeless and living in an airport. Once he got stateside, he promised the two would move to Portsmouth, Ohio and get married.
"He wanted a airplane ticket, so I sent him money for that. Next time he wanted a green card."
So Baker wired him the money - and lots of it.
"Every penny I had," said Baker who lives on a fixed income. "I get $694 a month and he claimed he needed it."
So she wired him the money. Every month sending what little money she had to a man she only knew by a picture and through phone conversation. But the instruction he gave her was to send the money to a man by the name of Nompumelelo Phakathi. He told Baker the man was his driver.
"He said send me the money and me and you will take off to Ohio," she said.
In the end Baker had sent him nearly $3000, but Larry never showed. And when she expressed her feelings on his Facebook page, she learned she wasn't his only victim.
"He claims he's going to marry them. This woman sent me a message which said, How is he going to marry you? He's supposed to marry me. That's when I got wise," she said.
But it was too late. Now she wants to make sure other south Georgia women don't become victims.
"Don't do what I did. Find out before you do it. Because it really hurt me and I'm behind in all my bills now."