Webster Groves woman, 81, gets probation for helping romance scammers | Law and order | #datingscams | #lovescams | #facebookscams

ST. LOUIS — An 81-year-old Webster Groves woman who was defrauded by romance scammers and then turned around to help them was sentenced in federal court here Thursday to five years of probation.

Glenda Seim was also ordered to repay $32,454 to victims, and she faces intensive supervision by probation officers and significant restrictions on her ability to possess a computer or access the internet.

Glenda Seim, in a screenshot from a FBI public service announcement warning of the dangers of romance scams.

Seim could have faced three to four years in prison under federal sentencing guidelines.

But U.S. District Judge Stephen R. Clark gave her a break due to her age, her health and her participation in a unique FBI public service announcement released in December warning others of romance scams.

In the video, Seim spoke of being duped by Nigerian scammers and then becoming a “money mule” for them, pawning cellphones and other electronics that were sent to her by other victims.

People are also reading…

She also opened bank accounts that scammers used to electronically deposit money from other victims.

Still referring to her scammer as “my love,” Seim said she ignored repeated warnings from bank employees and federal agents in the video. News of the video was shared as far away as Nigeria, prosecutors said.

Both Assistant U.S. Attorney Tracy Berry and defense lawyer Lucille Liggett supported the sentence of probation.

Berry said Seim’s PSA has been shared widely and is being used by the FBI and others to warn of the dangers of romance scams.

Liggett said that when she first met her client in March, Seim didn’t trust her or the FBI.

But it wasn’t until after going through the evidence against her for hours and hours that it dawned on Seim that “the love of her life” had duped both her and others, Liggett said.

Seim told Clark, “I am so ashamed, embarrassed and sorry for my actions.” 

She pleaded guilty in November to federal bank fraud and identity theft charges. 

Seim began an online relationship with someone claiming to be an American citizen working in Nigeria in 2014, and sent some of her Social Security retirement income to help him get out of the country, her plea says.

Seim graduated to pawning the electronics, tried to deposit a $45,000 counterfeit check into a bank account, and then created a fake company to open business bank accounts that scammers used to electronically deposit money from romance scams.

Even after she was warned by FBI and U.S. Secret Service agents and promised to stop, agents discovered that Seim had been helping scammers get unemployment insurance in the name of three victims of identity theft.

The scammers sought to steal more than $550,000, but were largely thwarted. 

Seim grew up an only child on an isolated farm with parents who were distant to her, Liggett wrote in a sentencing memorandum. After her second husband died, she moved into a seniors apartment complex in Kirkwood and opened a Facebook account as a way to meet people. 

She was courted by a man named “Wilson,” who promised to marry her and then manipulated and brainwashed her by withholding his affection unless she did his bidding, the memo says.

The man also convinced her to believe him over those trying to warn her about the scam. Liggett said Seim was evicted from her apartment after her guilty plea.

Seim’s case is one of a series prosecuted recently in St. Louis and nationwide, part of a “Money Mule Initiative” targeting the scams.

Click Here For The Original Source

. . . . . . .