Crime group suspected behind "army man" swindling woman out of €300,000

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Latvia's State Police suspect a crime ring is behind a case in which a woman was swindled out of €300,000 by a man claiming to be a US soldier based in Afghanistan. 

The woman turned to the State Police after she had used social media to talk with someone claiming to be an US citizen on a peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan. He had claimed to be looking for a serious relationship.

At first, the woman said, the two had heartfelt conversations via online translation on social media and following this they moved on to exchanging emails and text messages.

After gaining the woman's trust, the man told her that he wants to visit Latvia while on army leave. However, the man claimed that the storage room where he was keeping documents, jewelry, medals and about €20m in cash was due to be closed and he wanted to send his belongings to the woman as he had no relatives.

He told her that sending things via diplomatic post is very expensive and the woman offered help. The woman sent him over €300,000 in several payments.

The State Police is investigating the case and suspects that an organized international crime ring is behind the fraud and that such crimes have been perpetrated outside Latvia too. 

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