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The next night, her real intentions became clear, police told The Washington Post.
Bustos, 18, brought three men with her to Hilarie's place, including two career criminals on probation for violent felonies. When Hilarie, 27, responded to the knock on the door, the men overpowered him and dashed inside, police said. "Hilarie was begging for his life, he was not putting up any kind of fight, and was telling them that he had a 5-year-old daughter," according to arrest reports obtained by the Orlando Sentinel.
And it's so much easier for someone to do that online." It's unclear how many people across the United States have been caught up in so-called romance schemes, although the FBI and the FTC have both issued warnings against them.
"Millions of Americans visit online dating websites every year hoping to find a companion or even a soulmate," the FBI said just before Valentine's Day, adding that "the FBI wants to warn you that criminals use these sites, too, looking to turn the lonely and vulnerable into fast money through a variety of scams." Most victims walk away with lightened pockets and broken hearts.
"As of now, investigators believe there have been 6 such incidents in the past 5 weeks. "To avoid becoming a victim of these crimes, we urge members of the public to arrange meetings with online vendors in public places, such as local police departments," John Horn, the assistant U. attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, said following the sentencing hearing of a Craigslist robber.
On the website's personal safety page, Craigslist emphasizes that a tiny fraction of transactions conducted through the site end in crime.
"And the smartest person can be taken in during the early stages of the dating process.
Except now it's more sophisticated and easier for someone to lie and cheat and fabricate because they can pretty much change their identity to make it fit a new reality." Scammers, Levin said, "are experts at presentation of self.
"He did a little amateur boxing, but he was one of the biggest Florida State fans. He estimated Hilarie had been on the site less than two months, because that's when Hilarie broke up with his last girlfriend.The brothers had talked about the site, because Jackson is also a member."Half of the profiles, they don't even put their real name," Jackson said.A witness told investigators that Bustos had been involved in at least one similar robbery before, Ray told The Post.For her role in the deadly robbery of Adam Hilarie, Bustos was paid in cash, police said.