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Woman Duped Out Of £80,000 After Ending 29-Year-Relationship For Scammer

Rebecca Shepherd

| Last updated 

Woman Duped Out Of £80,000 After Ending 29-Year-Relationship For Scammer

A British woman has been conned out of £80,000 by a scammer who used pictures of a Latvian politician.

Not only that, but Sharon Bulmer also ended her relationship of 29 years to be with the man who said he was called Murphy Townsend - a US soldier who was 'lonely'.

Listen to her talk about her heartbreaking experience here:


For two years, the con artist pretended to be in the forces and said he needed money to leave Syria and visit Sharon - all the while using pictures of 'silver fox' Latvian Defence Minister, Artis Pabriks.

The Latvian Defence Office said they have been 'facing this situation for a long time' and have reported over 100 fake profiles using the minister's images.

Sharon, from Manchester, is still coming to terms with being conned.

The 51-year-old said: "He asked me to help him and I did, but over the time it's got me into huge debt and because I have fallen for this person. 

The scammers were using pictures of a Latvian politician. Credit: SWNS
The scammers were using pictures of a Latvian politician. Credit: SWNS

"I just wanted to help him so much. I know I have been a fool but these are the things we do for love."

'Murphy' first got in touch with Sharon in May 2020 by sending her two Facebook messages.

Sharon explained: "He said he was lonely, he’s serving in Syria, his wife had passed away and he just wanted someone to speak to."

But, when Sharon enquired with the US authorities, she was told there was no 'Murphy Townsend' on their records at all.

Sharon had ended her relationship with her partner of 29 years in order to 'start a new life' with 'Murphy'. This was in August 2020.

The following month, he asked her for £1,400 to pay for his flight to see her in Manchester, and asked her to pay via Bitcoin.

Credit: SWNS
Credit: SWNS

She's now forked out nearly £80,000 over the two-and-a-half year period for various hospital bills and plane tickets - and is now in £37,000 worth of debt.

Despite sending the funds, Sharon, a team leader at a Covid site, has never so much as video called him - as he'd told her he wasn't allowed to at his base.

The mum wishes to share her story to stop other people getting tricked the way she has been.

Sharon said: "I wanted to take my children on holiday, I was going to take them to New York last year, but because he was constantly hammering for money I couldn't."

"I want to help anyone out there to not be taken by these idiots and just try and get on with my life."

Credit: SWNS
Credit: SWNS

A spokesperson for the Latvian Defence Office said: "Unfortunately, we have been facing this situation for a long time. 

"We receive information about the various fake profiles that use the name and images of Mr. Pabriks on Facebook and Instagram both from the users of the social networks themselves, and our partners and colleagues in other countries. 

"We frequently receive screenshots from people who have been contacted by fraudsters and, recognizing the official accounts of the Defense Minister, choose to report them.

"So far, we have collected and reported to Facebook more than 100 fake accounts, but the response has been negative. 

"We feel that the security of everyday users both on Facebook and Instagram needs to be strengthened and supported in situations like these, and we encourage Facebook to pay more attention to these kinds of cases."

Featured Image Credit: SWNS

Topics: News, UK News

Rebecca Shepherd
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