A woman has been arrested for allegedly bilking victims out of millions of dollars.
Toronto police say 69-year-old Aleth Duell’s romance scam involved victims across the Greater Toronto Area.
Police allege the B.C. woman posed as a man on social media and dating sites, where she established friendships and relationships with the victims. Duell would then ask the victims to loan or gift her large sums of money with the promise of reimbursing them, police say.
The victims would send money by wire or e-transfer, and were also asked to open separate bank accounts and give the banking information to Duell, according to investigators.
Duell used a variety of reasons for needing the money, including having her passport confiscated overseas, facing border issues, or needing to cover medical expenses, officials report.
Duell would ask victims for more and more money, eventually threatening them if they were unwilling to comply, police say.
Toronto police estimate victims were defrauded of millions of dollars in the Greater Toronto Area alone. Police believe there may be more victims in Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta.
On Sep. 22, 2021, Duell was arrested and charged with fraud over 5,000 dollars and money laundering.
Duell appeared in court on Tuesday.