PHOTO: Those allegedly behind an elaborate Tinder scam used this photo of Mark Cain to create an identity for a Dale Plumides.
A man allegedly involved in a high-profile Tinder “swindler” scam that netted more than $1m from Kiwi women has left New Zealand – and a woman suspected of assisting him has been given a warning by police.
The Herald on Sunday has learned that woman is also believed to have lost money to the alleged scammer.
One of the victims, Joanne (not her real name), has described how she handed over $540,000 in the alleged scam after connecting with a man on Tinder in July 2021.
The man called himself Dale Plumides on his profile, which used a photo of a suited and smiling silver-haired man. It was later revealed the photo was actually of a real estate agent in Dallas named Mark Cain with no connection to the case.
Joanne, aged in her 50s, swiped right on the man, who said he was a 58-year-old from Auckland, and the following day he messaged her. The two spoke regularly for a couple of weeks before he sent her his email address.
Plumides told her he was an independent engineer/contractor who was in Dubai working on a bridge. He claimed he would be back in the country in several weeks. He also sent a news video about the bridge that showed a photo of Cain (who Plumides was purporting to be). It would later be revealed that the woman presenting the so-called news was a hired actor from the UK who was told the videos would be used to help people learn English.
Mark Cain is a real estate agent in Dallas with no connection to the case.
“I just want to spend the rest of my life enjoying the fruit of my labour,” Plumides told Joanne in an email. “I want a woman who would be my best friend and partner in everything. I’m talking about a relationship where we would continue to love each other more, as the days pass by, till we can’t make love anymore and all we do is play bingo LOL.”
He also referred to Joanne as “my ballerina lady”.
The pair spoke regularly on the phone, but Plumides, who had an American accent, said he was unable to use Skype in Dubai.
About a month after they first started talking, Plumides said there had been an accident at the worksite that resulted in several workers being injured. He asked if she would pay some money to help the staff. She sold some jewellery and agreed to send $1000.
Several weeks later, he asked Joanne to log in to his bank account, via a link he sent, to check the $9.2 million he was supposed to get paid for the bridge work had cleared. If it had, he wanted her to transfer the money to one of his colleagues.
When Joanne – who initially said she did not want to log in to the account – did as she was asked, it said the account was frozen due to unpaid taxes.
Plumides then asked her to help by sending money for the unpaid taxes. He promised once it was cleared she would get her money back.
Joanne first got an overdraft for $22,000 to help, before she later sold her house and agreed to send another $228,000 to cover further tax issues.
A month later, Plumides said he was still unable to get his money. This time he needed $290,000. Joanne, who hoped paying the extra money would mean she got her money back, agreed.
“This has to work darling”, Joanne said.
“So please please make sure this is it before paying as we will lose our house otherwise.”
He replied “don’t worry baby”.
READ MORE VIA NEWSTALK ZB
- THE ANCIENT STONE CITY: Proof of NZ civilisation before Kupe
- Real estate agent turns himself in | WARNING: DISTRESSING CONTENT
- Claims about Jacinda Ardern’s wealth
- Why are some F45 gyms collapsing? | WATCH
- Real estate agent Sally Ridge’s full-scale renovation of Auckland mansion
- Eye surgeon accused of murdering wife puts Remuera mansion up for sale
- Prominent lawyer takes landlord to court over $3000-per-week rental property
- Auckland 6th least affordable major housing market in world
- He sometimes struggled to pay staff, but owns a $4m holiday home
- 2022 Australia’s 250 wealthiest individuals | The Rich List