Online dating scandal cons woman out of $75,000

Online dating scandal cons woman out of $75,000

(WMC-TV) - Investigators say a man who claimed to be a military veteran scammed a woman he met on dating website

Police say he  gained her trust, met her in person, and then conned her out of tens of thousands of dollars, some of which he used to take a Caribbean vacation.

66-year-old Ronald Chessman is accused pretending to be a retired colonel in the United States Air Force.

"When we started to check his background, we found out that he has never been in the military of any sort. He was a swindler. He was a con man," said Shelby County Sheriff's Office
Public Information Officer Chip Washington.

Investigators said Chessman convinced the woman to give him a check for $75,000, which he deposited into his bank in Georgia.  He said he would "invest money into the military" for her.

When Chessman could not produce investment return paperwork and declined to return the money, the woman called the sheriff's department.

"He ended up taking her money," said Washington. "Conning her out of $75,000, spent $21,000 on his own personal needs, including a trip to Jamaica."

Investigators say they recovered the rest of her money still sitting in his Georgia bank account.

"It always goes back to: be cautious, be careful, particularly when you're dealing with an individual you may or may not meet online," said Washington.

Copyright 2012 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.