Her name is Vena, or so she has told me over the years. Trying to get her real and official name had always been a problem, and should have been a “RED FLAG” for me over three years ago, but I believed the best in her, as our conversation online was a positive encouragement from the countless other conversations from others which were not really conversations, but ploys to scam me out of money. You know the drill…”I love you with all my heart,” only to have these next words follow the “I love you” talk: “how much can you afford?”
So the conversation tarried for some time, and I believed I was learning much from this lady who I was beginning to like and find very attractive. Yes…she was a pretty woman, as many of them are, and I couldn’t determine if her picture was a fake, so I persisted in the penpal relationship, although she believed we would one day meet, and it was my misguided belief to agree with her, and hope this conversation would develop into much more intimate and affectionate relationship.
As developments revealed discrepancies in her alleged character and mode of relating to me, I discovered she was not as pure-hearted and devoted to me as I once had thought. The months which passed were filled with nice words, and it seemed she echoed and mimicked the way I would describe my character, and she would award accolades and complimentary comments to me to keep the funds coming.
Yes….I was the continual fool with Vena, supporting her financially, because I believed her tale of personal woe of being abandoned by her family. Allegedly, she was a graduate of the University of Colorado in Denver, and lived in a hostel with a couple of other young ladies, and she was given a monthly stipend for living, however, she made it apparent to me that her family was not pleased with her relationship with me, the relationship which was only words written to each other, which, to me, was not much of a relationship, as many of our conversations either began or ended with trite little words like “ok,” “sure,” “yes,” and other such trivial communication. But it appeared from her replies to my questions that her family believed I was not “right” for her, and everyone, except her mother and sister in New York ever really asked about me.
So we now fast forward to the current time, with memories of a gradual receding of affection, especially as I learned how she tried to convince me of who she was, because I began to ask questions when I learned I could not find her name on the graduation list of the university. She could not believe I would do this, but I reminded her of who I was, a man who was schooled in public safety to document with questions the truth of what she told me. Then she went ahead to try and save face and sent me a graduation “photo,” only this was a “doctored” photo and she inserted her face into the body of another individual’s photo to show me her parents were there for her when she graduated, and then there was the fake music video she sent me and said my name, but again, this was a real obvious scam.
I didn’t consider this a betrayal, however, she accused me of betraying her and her family with my questions, and this after I had been very generous with her each and every month, and with her continual failure to reveal her true identity to me, I made the quality decision to block her, and move on with life. It was obvious we were at an impasse.
So the months go by, and I moved on, as the saying goes, and I created a brand new email which removed her from any contact I might have had with her, but then…after a six month respite, she “found” me again. I couldn’t believe she learned of my new email, but she accused me of abandoning her, but that was not the case, and she believed it, and then proclaimed that after all this time, her family finally wanted to reward me for caring for her for the last several years, due to their ignoring her needs, and after a few weeks, she informed me that her “brother” would be sending me a gift as a thank you for caring for her.
To cut to the chase, as they say…..sure….the gift came in…to the tune of a $21,000 check written out to me from Citibank in Chicago. And when I received the check, she was all business and informed me that there was an amount within that check to reward me, but never told me how much. All she could tell me was to follow her brother’s instructions, which was to deposit the check into the ATM and within a few hours start spending it.
I’d been this route before, and duly informed her I had to wait for the check to “clear” before it could be used, which did not go over very well with her or her “brother.” But in the next couple of days, I discovered the check had cleared, although the bank was surprised it cleared so early, and I followed through with the instructions, with the hope of having my efforts rewarded, because I was broke. Well….”broke” is not telling the exact truth here, because just before I was ready to send out $7000 cash to a location in the midwest, I found I could not use my debit card, and my financial institution informed me that the check was a fake, and all the money I had in my checking account had been withdrawn by the bank to pay for what I had spent from the fake check. You want to say “broken?” Yeah. How about stressed beyond belief.
“Vena” could not believe it, but I could….and it remained for me to pay back the money I owed the bank to the tune of $2500 for what I believed was a gift to me, but in the end, I learned that this woman betrayed my trust after all of the months of generosity to her and her family.
Thank God for family…..my sister and her husband…they saved me from financial ruin yesterday morning, and I informed this “Vena” that whatever kind of relationship she hoped she would have with me was over. She insisted that the check was not fake, but even this morning, she sent me a text telling me her “brother and his team” are looking into it. Sure they are. Send me cash….I want my losses recovered. This is what I will tell her and her brother.
I will now have the rest of my life to pay back my brother-in-law and in his compassionate way he told me to take my time…he didn’t need the money….he had plenty and didn’t want me to hurt myself. (He understands the low-paying job I have and the other financial obligations which stare me in the face each and every day.) And surprising, he told me I wasn’t the first one in the family who ever needed financial help, but I have respected and loved him due to his kindness towards my parents when they were alive.
I have never been betrayed this way in my life. Broken? Yeah, but not forlorn, and my prayers have been answered and God is good. Things could have gotten much worse, but I give praise to the One who watches over me each moment of my life and protected me against a far worse fate than what I experienced in the last few days. I even shaved and had something to eat and actually got a little sleep after all was said and done. And my bank account is back to where it was before all this took place, thanks to my family.
“Vena” always pretended she would be my family and my bride, but I was never her “honey,” as she often called me. Honey is sweet from the honeycomb, and all I got from her and her brother was misery and a tarnished reputation with the bank. They will not even honor a check from anyone, including my family anymore, until it has been cleared, as has always been the case, but I was always able to cash a small check. This situation changed everything, and I promised the bank manager that this will never ever occur again.
“She is not your friend,” were the parting words from my newly formed relationship with the bank manager, and we will always be connected, unlike Vena. Banks have a vested interest in protecting their interests and protecting the clients who do business with them, and I thank God for that. Some other things are not so clear.