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Woman tells the story of her MIL marrying a scammer; 'I didn't know how to stop her.' UPDATED 3X

Woman tells the story of her MIL marrying a scammer; 'I didn't know how to stop her.' UPDATED 3X

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When this woman tells the story of her MIL's scam marriage, she asks the internet:

"My MIL traveled to foreign country to marry scammer. WTF do I do?"

MIL (F) sent text Xmas day that she's going to Kenya. She's there now with this man ( half her age) who she wants to marry. Won't go into all the details of his hospital stories but quick summary - he needed $250 a day injections for covid recovery, daughter almost died...

needed two operations, he had kidney operation, almost died again from heart attack. Just goes on and on. So many lies about the hospitals too as I tried to tell her the hospital name didn't exist but she wouldn't listen to anything.

Anyway, so she is in Kenya now. She has just left swish hotel to go to a house. Who's house? I don't know. Today she sends pictures that she finally met his daughter. Apparently the daughter has been living at his sister's house but came to meet her today.

Also, in an incredible twist of fate, the mother of his daughter, who abandoned her at birth, now wants her back and is taking her back to the USA where she lives and works as a Dr. Seriously, this story is so twisted..

Anyway, next steps are for her to marry him which she really wants as she gave him the ring herself and then she wants to invest in greenhouses. Literally, she's prepared to give all her life savings on this - once he marries her. She also says she wants to live and die in Kenya with him. wtf. Nevermind her grandkids or family at home.

Anyway, I'm wondering what we can expect. I don't think we can stop her but can we do anything? I'm assuming she will be swindled big time. I noticed the man always has his sister not too far away...do you think this could be his wife or girlfriend? She's got to be an accomplice as she goes along with the stories.

Its all really messed up but we feel helpless and have tried everything. Now I guess we just watch her fall? Could there be any hope in this situation?

Update: Thanks for all your advice. We have had some contact. She is renting an apartment in Kisumu but won't provide the address. She says there are no addresses there.

The man she is involved with has now found a job and works 7pm to 7 am. Meanwhile, he hasn't taken her to his home though claims the sister Lucy has a nine bedroom mansion. Yesterday was her first day out òf the apartment as she relies on him entirely.

They plan to marry and now she is planning to invest in greenhouses. She wants to buy 6 x $10,000 USD as he promised her they would make $120,000 USD profit à year. I said to her to send me the company profile as I'd like to invest too for profits like that and not having to work.

Since then, he got in touch via messenger and asked the fam to 'stop the drama' and what we wanted for him to leave her. I think he was trying to get us to offer money. Its very bizarre. Just got to hope she makes it back home.

This is an update on a story I've shared earlier where my MIL met a man online and suddenly left to travel to Kenya to meet him. MIL did come back home temporarily. She refused to sign any power of attorney papers and the advice we received was that "you can't stop someone from making poor choices". Well basically we couldn't do anything legally.

We tried to talk her out of returning and make her see sense that she is being swindled. But the more we tried to stop her, the more distant she became. She pretty much cut everyone off.

She keeps in touch with only one family member who placated her to ensure they could stay in touch. This person has provided me the info so I can give the update of what she is doing.

She did return to Kenya. But first she packed up all her household furniture and sent that across to Kenya too. 7 weeks and it hasn't arrived yet. Nevermind, they say it will arrive soon. Hopefully they will have a house to put all the furniture into. They will have to get a house soon. Once they are married!

The date is not set yet but she is excited. She is renting a room in Nairobi in the meanwhile. She spends most of her days passing the time looking at wedding dresses online. She is too scared to venture out of the hotel if he doesn't accompany her.

Nairobi is a big place and she is 77. It's difficult to get around. When he is there, he makes her feel secure. He is the best man she's ever known. A good Christian and a hardworking 40 year old man. But unfortunately, he is away a lot and she is on her own most of the time. So she doesn't get out much at all.

He is head chef at one of the best hotels in Nairobi and he is committed to the job. He needs to be there 24-7 many days of the week. Now he is employed again he might be able to pay back the $130k he borrowed from her.

He really got it as a loan, no wait, it was a gift. He needed it. It was for his jail bail- he was wrongly accused. He had long covid and the operations, the sick kids. It was lucky she gave him the money or he could have died.

And it's lucky too his kids can now live with his sister. Really, thank god for the sister taking them or he wouldn't be able to work if he needed to look after kids. Soon he won't need to work so much as they will invest in greenhouses.

They will make back the $130k she lent him in just one year! Greenhouses is just one option as there are so many exciting investments to make! Kenya has 7% interest rate so they are set to make money for sure. Soon. It will definitely happen soon.

But she can't be impatient! For now, each day she is looking for her dream wedding dress online and it's very exciting as she just got the news the wedding will be free and fully paid for at the big hotel where he works.

It's going to be a big wedding full of his family and friends. Nevermind her own children won't go. They don't understand and were all skeptics! She'll show them!!! They will be married. And they will have a new house. And they will be making lots of money with their new investments. Soon. It will happen. Very soon.

This man is a predator and conartist. We estimate after the $130k she handed him she is at least down another $70k for logistics i.e. apartment rent, plane flights and who knows what else. If anyone has ideas on how I can expose him to warn other women let me know. MIL might not listen but maybe it could help others. I do know his name.

Before we give you OP's updates, let's take a look at some of the top responses:

loucy writes:

It is truly a sad tale and a sad fact that people will prey on others for their own gain. The tactic is perpetuated by the lengths that people will go through not be alone and to feel loved.

A close friend of our family’s widowed and lonely Mother was caught up in a similar scam and was slowly milked dry, lost her 50+ year family home and her life savings. She ended up living in her car in the winter until her kids realized what was happening and took her in.

Even after the scam was fully revealed to her she still couldn’t accept that this guy, 1/3 her age, was a con man. Insisted that he was a victim too and that outside forces were trying to keep them apart.

All because a 25 year old man called her sweetheart and baby a few times, professed his love and wanted to run away with her. On her dime of course, his millions were wrapped up in investments that would pay handsomely ’very soon’!

It would almost be funny if it wasn’t so heartbreaking. I think it should be considered a mental health disease. We want our parents to maintain their independence into there twilight years but maybe it should be some kind of law that a financial monitor is put into place at a certain age?

cynicla34 writes:

The most shocking part of this is that at 77 she is both ridiculously delusional and wickedly independent and capable. She kept this relationship quiet enough that you had no idea she was going to Kenya.

She made all the travel arrangements, fulfilled any visa requirements (I checked, Australians are required to have a list of things to get an entry visa), is fully vaccinated and has proof etc etc.

Quite impressive for someone who is 77 I am guessing she is a pretty with it person. As others have said in the US there is a show called 90 Day Fiance which is entirely made up of these types of stories-both ways, scammers who are basically green card seekers and American loser men who want young gorgeous out of their league women.

Interestingly the women who end up with African men tend to not have money-at least not by American standards, I guess by poor African standards they seem wealthy.

While the show has never shown the full scam they have had at least one that was this situation and I am thinking the producers saved her before she sent too much money.

All that said, given her tenacity I doubt you can do anything to "save" her. She can prove that she is capable just by outlining everything I outlined that she did to make the move. I doubt that you can talk her out of anything but I am hopeful, for you, that she will see the "real" situation eventually and get herself home.

OP's first update:

It's not the age gap that is the main concern though it's a massive red flag to me. The main issue is all the lies. I found he has several FB pages. I've been trying to stop this for months. I am scared for her life.

At one point he said he was going to lose his house and the hospital was holding the daughter against her will until he paid the invoice but he had no money. MIL was so upset by this. I told her it was rubbish and the hospital does not exist and is not listed at the Kenyan list of medical centers and hospitals.

She gave me number of hospital and told me to call and she has been speaking to the accountant at the hospital. So I call number and some random guy answers- doesn't even say it's a hospital when he answers too...

but after I start asking questions he says he runs the hospital and that he is the only Dr at this hospital and that's why it's not registered. FYI - Hospital is called "Ikolomani Hospital". I got number too and it's not online anywhere.

The man on phone goes on how he operated on the girl and they won't pay bill. I say 'what operation?' He says 'stomach operation' caused by starvation. I say 'can you email me the details and the invoice for surgery or the information cause I don't believe it'. He says sure he will email.

Well, next thing MIL is in hysterics. The scammer has told her that I ruined his life. My phonecall 'ruined everything'. That they have to pay even more money now and he will lose the house and it's my fault. And that he no longer wants to be with her as the family don't trust him.

Essentially, they turned her against me. The threat of him leaving her has happened Everytime we have tried to intervene and of course, this only makes her turn against us. This man is friggin cunning. Anyway, she sorted it out, calmed down and they got 'back together'. I never did get the hospital records btw but figured you'd know that.

It took a bit of work to win her trust back. Ironically, I have to work for her trust. The scammer gets the trust unconditionally. No matter what crazy, unrealistic story he spins she buys into it - hook, line and sinker. This is driven by the fact he is Christian and a Pastor. And she believes that God has brought them together. She is mental.

Update 2 (a month later):

Still in Kenya. Planning to come back to pack up her house then return to Kenya. She is planning to bring him back under special exemption of marriage. Australian border security is one of the toughest in the world.

I'll eat my hat if he gets into our country. It will be our chance to stop this rubbish. She wants to invest her money in greenhouses with him. Which is a ridiculous proposition ( huge profits not work required). We're trying to arrange guardianship but it's not easy either.

Update 3 (two months later):

She came back home for about a month and wouldn't listen to any family. We can't get intervention as she is apparently not experiencing cognitive decline. She has since hidden her Facebook profile and returned to Kenya just last week. He is a complete con artist and lies constantly.

I found an ally in Kenya that confirmed he is a conman. She sought help from local police who said they can't do anything unless MIL complains. I found this ally as he appeared in images at her church and she told me the story that he turned up drunk and he tried to pursue her as well...asked her for 'jail movey'.

As a western woman living in Kenya fort more than a decade she is very savvy and street smart. She keeps on touch as she occasionally sees him around but has never seen Mil. Anyway, there's other things that cone up through this woman too...long story.

We have also confirmed that MIL has given him $130000 so far. which she lied about for months. She says he is her husband but I don't know if there was an official wedding.

She basically has cut family off now and hates us all for trying to interfere. Tried everything. The last we heard was that she said they will return together for Xmas. I don't believe he will get through our borders.

I imagine she is on her own stuck in an apartment somewhere while he uses her funds. She thinks they were going to live together in a house happily married. He is 40 years old. She is 78 now.

The nonsense pretty much sums it up. The kids that needed lots of money for education and operation conveniently disappear from the scene once she arrives. After his accident, he made a miraculous recovery and now gets a prestigious job straight away.

His job requires him to be away 24/7 at a hotel but they rent at another hotel in the same city. It goes on and on. You won't believe his bad luck. Walked 16 miles to save his life apparently. He got a brand new car out of her too - needed it to get work. I mean there is no logic.

More details. Turns out this is not the first time she was scammed this way: Confiscate her phone too. This man is the 3rd scammer she met. She will start all over with another if this falls through. The first one we managed to debunk relatively quickly.

The 2nd one took a bit of time but we found some info on him at a scam alert page and when she confronted him, he admitted it and told her to give him the money anyway.

Then she dated a couple loser guys in Oz who were clearly not interested in long term. Then back to internet where she got over 600 hundred African friends and giving money away to ministers etc.

This guy saw an opportunity and probably can't believe his luck. As he is now a rich man. None of this would have happened if it wasn't for her phone with internet access.

And more background: I 100% agree with you. To support this theory - he was actually supposed to come back with her the first time to help pack her house up. He even took a trip to the Embassy (alone) to get his visa sorted.

Apparently the embassy said he can't come to Australia as the Federal Police are investigating him. So he told MIL that it was the families' fault as they have been spreading lies to the Federal police.

So she wrote to me and was really mad, blamed this on me and then also said she lost money on his (business class) ticket and that's on me. By then I had enough of her being so critical to me so I said that if the Federal Police are involved she should cut all ties and I sent her a list of the crimes that FP actually investigate (terrorism, trafficking etc).

They don't investigate scams so even if I had reported him for swindling her then he must have some other serious crimes he's done as they are not interested in con artists- verified all these facts with website from the FP gov page.

A week later she tells the SIL the FP are not actually investigating him and he will get his visa to come to Australia soon. He never came. So she packs up all her stuff, ships it to Kenya, rents her house out and goes back to Kenya.

She has never received her cargo and got a call recently from the shipping company saying she needs to pay more money as they've transferred it to another company to manage. So basically she has sent her entire household to a country she has no citizenship in yet.

This is insanity. But you're right he will just drag this out and live a lavish lifestyle in Kenya and is probably even elevated more now through her money to be able to look impressive to other women he will swindle. And so on it goes.

Readers continued to weigh in on OP's updates:

farfa writes:

In a situation like this, your best course of action is to be very passive and listen up front, and line up the help the victim will need to get out behind the scenes, and make goddamn sure that the target always has your phone number/some other way to contact you.

There's a very weird phenomena where confrontation simply drives the target further towards the manipulator and binds them closer together.

This is actually the reason why cults, fringe faith and even big mainstream faiths like Mormonism and the JWs (both of whom I count as cults) send their young people out as missionaries.

They're not recruiting, though they're happy to snap up the vulnerable they manage to convert along the way. They're trying to force the missionary to adopt an us-vs-them mentality, and forcing the missionary to confront hostile, aggressive and angry person after hostile, aggressive and angry person is a really, really effective way to do it.

You set up your target by saying "The world is against you. Your unbelieving family is against you.

I am the only person on your side. You go talk to them. When they confront you about me, you'll see how awful they truly are," and then you let them go home to their loving friends and family who will pull out all the stops to save them, and by doing so prove the cult/scammer/abuser to be absolutely right.

When you confront a cult member, or a con-artist target like OOP's mom, you have to realize that they were only cut loose once their leader/manipulator has coached them to view everything you say and do with suspicion...

and told them exactly how you're going to react so that when you start up the intervention machine, all you're doing is confirming everything the con-artist/cult leader is true.

You don't accept that they're going to be a cult member or be fleeced by a scam artist, obviously. What you do is gray rock. Don't engage. Say "okay" a lot. You're not agreeing with their truth, but you're acknowledging what they said. You try to make them feel heard. Become Switzerland.

You are completely neutral as far as the victim is concerned. Be as helpful as you can without supporting the cult or scam. Invite them to come back home, and while they're in transit, you practice saying "Okay" in the mirror a lot.

If they ask you why you aren't as open and sharing as you used to be, you say something like, "Well, I'm a little troubled by your lifestyle right now, but that's a 'me' thing and I'm working on it. How was your trip?" Say "I love you" a lot.

Say "you know you can tell me anything" a lot. Make it clear that you don't get it and you don't entirely trust the guy, but don't condemn him or talk him down. Talk, loudly and often, about how many times you've helped friends and other family members out of bad situations.

Emphasize that you are a no-judgement zone. In other words: make them feel as safe with you as you possibly can without being a friend of their scammer, and plant the idea that when the time comes, they can come to you for help.

The reason is you will never, ever, EVER change their mind by talking to them. The choice to leave has to come from within. By creating the us-vs-them mindset, the scammer not only drives the target into a closer bond, they make the target see the family as unsafe.

This way, when the target starts waking up, they've got nobody to turn to for help. They've had so many arguments and are so ashamed of their own behavior, and feel guilty over how they treated their family, that they just dive right back into the scam fog instead of facing what they've done.

With the right measure of pressure, the vast majority of us would rather drink the grape flavor-aid than admit that we've destroyed our lives for a con artist, and the con artists know it.

They use our reflexive avoidance of shame and guilt against us. That's why your primary goal when a loved one is in this situation is to make your relationship as shame- and guilt-free as you possibly can.

By being as non-confrontational as possible and building yourself up as a safe person, you've raised the chances that when they wake up, they'll call you and ask for help. And that is when you bring out the escape plan and move heaven and earth to get your loved one back.

This is how you save people from abusive relationships, cults, MLMs and scammers like this. Because you can't actually save them, and their abuser is so practiced in manipulation that they've already mapped out every avenue of attack you can think of...but they usually forget the Gray Rock route exists.

You let the scammer's own bad behavior break the victim out of the fog, and then you run your ass off to catch them before the scammer can reel them back in.

sallyamarie6 writes:

So my own MiL fell prey to a younger man whilst on holiday in Gambia. They were together for years and she lived out there for a time before he got his visa and came to our home country.

Not long after he started cheating with various women. MiL found out and the whole marriage fell apart. She had helped pay for him to build a massive house for him, her and his sister. And all his sisters kids who he was responsible for as the oldest male child and the kids dad had abandoned them.

They all lived to together for a few years. Turns out, not his sister and not his niblings. It was HIS wife and HIS children. She paid to build a house for his first wife and lived alongside her not knowing.

Then he ups sticks to the our country and continues cheating with women here. She still loves him but thank god she left him and won’t take him back. He keeps trying.

What do YOU make of OP's story? Any advice for her or her MIL?

Sources: Reddit
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