Despite her hand-to-mouth circumstances, Elrod’s new account soon began to receive a series of sizable wire transfers, many of which originated abroad.Over the course of one December week, for example, almost ,000 arrived from Norway; on January 2, someone in France sent ,977.The missive caught her eye because of the sender’s handsome profile photo, which showed a middle-aged man with a ruddy face, strong black eyebrows, and a welcoming gaze.His name was Duke Gregor.“How beautiful is your picture Audrey,” the message read.At each stop she’d wire another chunk of money to Sinclair.Sometimes, if her phone bill was due or her refrigerator was barren, she kept a few dollars for herself.He said he had stumbled across her profile while searching for a college friend who shared her last name; he also noted that his own surname was actually Mc Gregor, not Gregor.After a bit more flirtatious back-and-forth on Facebook, Elrod invited him to continue their conversation on Yahoo Messenger.
She was in the midst of divorcing her husband of 14 years; his legal woes (including arrests for benefits fraud and making a false bomb report) had strained their marriage.
As part of this blossoming relationship, Elrod grew close to Mc Gregor’s son, Kevin, a 17-year-old boarding school student in Manchester, UK.
The boy wrote her bubbly emails about his closest school chum and his plans for Senior Day.
Elrod never let this money linger: She always showed up at the bank a few hours after a transfer cleared, to withdraw as much as ,500 in cash.
She would then return on subsequent days to make additional four-figure withdrawals until the account was nearly empty.
But more often than not, she ended the day no richer than she’d started.