By Huang Chia-lin
and Jonathan Chin / Staff reporter, with staff writer
A Kaohsiung woman who thought that she was dating Hollywood actor Keanu Reeves was found not guilty of abetting fraud, the Kaohsiung District Court has ruled.
Citing insufficient evidence to prove intent, the court on May 27 dismissed fraud and money-laundering charges against the woman, surnamed Chang (?), saying that the evidence suggested that she had been duped.
The verdict can be appealed.
The verdict said that police opened an investigation into Chang after her bank account was linked to an online catfishing scheme, which involves luring someone into a relationship by using a fictional online persona.
The scheme claimed two victims, including a woman who was tricked into wiring NT$170,000 and a man who lost NT$180,000, it said.
During questioned, Chang told police that her boyfriend had used her bank account for business, but initially refused to identify the man out of a desire to protect his privacy, it said.
Chang later relented and said that she had met someone she thought was Reaves on an online dating site.
Chang knew him by the handle “K34044” when they started an online relationship, she said, adding that she “realized” the user was the Hollywood star after he sent her a selfie.
K34044 then told Chang that they were raising funds in bitcoin for a movie and needed to use her account, a request that she fulfilled, the verdict said.
Text messages retrieved by investigators showed that the party posing as Reeves typed in simplified Chinese, but had told Chang that this was because they used Google Translate to communicate with her, it said.
Chang’s chat history suggested that she sincerely believed that she was in a relationship with Reeves and that the financial arrangements she made were for legitimate purposes, it said.
Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.