Finding Closure After Exploitation – Lauren’s Story- Part 3

 

Here’s where we left off from Part 2 in Lauren’s struggle for justice against a man who misused her romantic brain chemistry to con her for sex and money….

The man that scammed me has a flashy web presence that appears impressive to the untrained or trusting eye, but actually reveals the profile of a typical con man. To a trusting person, he would seem to have a clean record with no criminal history.

I got nowhere with the police!

It is nearly impossible to pursue this as a crime, so I filed a civil suit; first as a pro se case, and then I obtained a lawyer. The legal complaint was for “Fraud, Breach of Contract, and Unjust Enrichment.”

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Going through the legal process deeply affected me. First of all, it was a gamble pursuing this as it could result in more good money lost if I did not collect. In addition, there’s the risk of retaliation from the scammer. That part was quite unsettling and I lost my sense of safety in this world.

I crossed paths with a dark individual who exploited my kindness and my compassionate heart. I clearly showed that I cared more about people than about money or material things as I was willing to help someone I loved. I helped him financially because I feared he would die of an untreated heart condition without medical care. I was also concerned about his financial situation and that he would be overwhelmed to the point of suicide.

I felt strongly about holding the scammer accountable and was quite troubled that there was an element of organized crime to this. I never wanted to look back on my life and regret not going after him. What he did was so wrong. I also wanted to prevent others from getting scammed by him.

I wished that someone before me had legally pursued justice. If they had, maybe this wouldn’t have happened to me. And, I was determined to get my money back!

Seeking justice inspired a sea change

I had a good case against him and I knew it. The risk was worth it.  I had him backed into a corner now.

Instead of my initial feelings of violation and shame that haunted me for many months, once I began taking action, I felt strong, and that I could continue to feel empowered, no matter the outcome.

In June of 2017, my case was settled through mediation and I received a financial settlement for the amount of money he conned from me! I was not compensated for legal costs, however, which were substantial. His scam cost me in many other ways which the courts failed to recognize, particularly, my emotional well-being.

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­It was exciting knowing that I was making him squirm. When the settlement agreement came through, I felt on top of the world. I felt euphoric. In the days that followed, I discovered a new sense of power and confidence. The entire experience transformed me into a stronger and more confident woman.

A sense of peacefulness and satisfaction are other emotions that come to mind. I also have knowledge about a dark side of humanity and have seen the workings of the “con man” world. Knowledge is quite empowering.

Justice can come in many forms. I obtained some measure of justice. My personal journey transformed me from feeling defeated to feeling validated and vindicated. The restitution of money is also very powerful. For me, it is a symbol of good overcoming evil and I feel really happy when I make those monthly settlement check deposits into my bank account!

What goes around, comes around, and it did in my case!

Justice helped restore my sense of self.

I now know that my caring does not make me a “gullible” person. It does not make me a “stupid” person. I have nothing to be ashamed of. I am a good person. The person who scammed me is the bad person. He is calculating and evil. My experience gave me insight into the warning signs of dangerous individuals like him.

It is a very personal decision to proceed with a legal case in a situation like mine. It’s extremely stressful, and there is no guarantee of any good outcome. For me, it was absolutely the right decision. I do not suffer from any ongoing depression effects from this experience; in fact, just the opposite.

I had the option of just chalking it up to a bad experience in life for which I paid very expensive tuition, but going through the justice system allowed me to fully process what happened and to move on in a very positive way. I must give credit to Joyce Short, the author of this site, for her insights and encouragement throughout my journey.

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I’m pleased to report that Lauren has indeed moved on and has a deeply fulfilling life. She recently enjoyed a wonderful trip to Europe and has made significant additional changes. For anyone who is struggling with the aftermath of a romance scam, I truly encourage you to use whatever legal measures are available to restore your power, and to fight for new laws that will help shut down the rape mentality that makes these crimes possible. 

 

 

 

4 thoughts on “Finding Closure After Exploitation – Lauren’s Story- Part 3”

  1. Thank you, Nina. Validation is a powerful aspect in the healing process. It is difficult to find validation in non-violent injustices. Realizing that a measure of justice was the goal, it helped me along my journey of healing and through the legal process. After all, I understood, that I could never obtain a full restitution of the harm done to me. It is important to accept that level that is obtained so that you can move on with your life and not let a bad experience make you bitter. There is a sense of moral justice in holding someone accountable and that is also very powerful. There’s something about having that last word, “I know what you did.” I also believe that going through the arduous legal process shows that there is absolute truth in the story.

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  2. Great article, Joyce! So glad for Lauren! I think getting that justice and validation makes all the difference in the world – I know it would have helped me tremendously!

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    1. Thanks Nina! I agree! If we could pass more legislation to make sexual assault by fraud or impersonation a crime, we’d see a lot more justice! Civil suits are costly and only work in certain cases, particularly the ones where there are monetary damages. But if the offender has no assets, there’s really no sense in pursuing a case against them. They simply get off Scott free, and move along to harm another unsuspecting victim.

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