How do I get money back from a romance scam

Met a saudi man when I was in Saudi back in February 2019 for several days. Kept in touch after I got back to my home country. "Felt in love" after talking for a couple months. He always complained he has a hard life and is always looking for a chance. Gave him $150K USD for him to open a restaurant in his home town.

Took a trip together in Europe right after (I paid, cost me $20K). On this trip, he was drinking and angry almost every day.

Barely talked after the trip. Then became nice to me again for couple days and then asked for another $50K. Saying he needs to finish the restaurant. I gave him. Got mad at me the day after, and said he does not want to have anything to do with me anymore.

I then called and called, and finally several days later I got hold of him. I asked him to if he's willing to sign a promissory note, basically stating that I lent him this much money, and he would pay me back at a certain repayment schedule.

He first said he would look at it.

The next day when I asked for his address, he flat out refused. won't give me his address to even let my lawyer draft the document.

So now I realize that I am clearly been scammed. What's the best way to get my money back from a guy who resides in Saudi? I

I’m so sorry for what happened to you, but I think there’s no way to get your money back if you don’t have any prove on papers

I only have prove from my bank statement that I wired him the money.  But I never asked for an agreement on paper until now. Everything was verbal. 

What else can I do? Is there a way to find out about his family and friends and let know them who he really is?

Without proof, there is no way to get the money back.

You can use the bank wires and then engage lawyers in Saudi to try to file a case.  It won't be easy and it won't be quick and will cost a lot of money.   They can probably also help you locate him through their own means.

Hire a lawyer in Saudi Arabia. If you have his pictures or his full name, he can be easily tracked but getting back your money is another thing. Keep all your bank transactions and communication with him safe.  Laws here are complicated and the court process is really long. So if you dont mind the wait and spend another 10-20,000 $ on an attorney, You can go ahead, atleast he will be behind bars and that will stop him from conning another person.

aymanhamzahbaseem.blogspot.com

this is a blog that I wrote of my experience

I have contacted many lawyers in saudi through email.  I have gotten the list off the US embassy in Riyahd website. 

I am a US citizen.

But pretty much no lawyers replied to my email inquiry.  Only one replied, saying that she works in Riyahd.  But since the scammer lives in the Al Madinah province, she cannot help. 

I asked if she can refer anyone, she says no

Does any one know a good lawyer in Saudi that handles cases for the Al Madinah province?

if I cannot get my money back, put him in prison is the next best thing

I think you can achieve your goal by searching social media, especially twitter. Also you have many information that could help (IBAN - pictures - mobile number - ....). I visited your blog and i saw you still hide his information, and that wont help, you need to expose him publicly so anyone can help.

Send me his info. (pic. - mobile number - IBAN - ... ) and i will search.

I read all your blog and also suggestions from honorable friends.
As far as my opinion, there is only one way to reach him and recover your money and that is social media.
Upload your request with all evidence and hash tag to all Saudi official and US official.
Second make a small video mentioned his name picture, his Facebook or any social media account and upload on you tube and Facebook.
Im sure you will get positive response from govt official.
And last not least go to ministry of interior website of Saudi Arabia and your home country, and launch complaint.
Im sure it will works.

wendydong1 :

I only have prove from my bank statement that I wired him the money.  But I never asked for an agreement on paper until now. Everything was verbal. 

What else can I do? Is there a way to find out about his family and friends and let know them who he really is?

I would suggest to visit the nearest Saudi Embassy/ consulate in your area. They have all the resources to contact the right authority here in Saudi Arabia in order to track the whereabouts of that person

unfortunately you are right.

how he put him at prison?

aamirnajam :

I read all your blog and also suggestions from honorable friends.
As far as my opinion, there is only one way to reach him and recover your money and that is social media.
Upload your request with all evidence and hash tag to all Saudi official and US official.
Second make a small video mentioned his name picture, his Facebook or any social media account and upload on you tube and Facebook.
Im sure you will get positive response from govt official.
And last not least go to ministry of interior website of Saudi Arabia and your home country, and launch complaint.
Im sure it will works.

the saudi e-services are only provided for saudi citizen, ex: anyone who has an iqma number.. US government could care less...

abou.alseoud :

I think you can achieve your goal by searching social media, especially twitter. Also you have many information that could help (IBAN - pictures - mobile number - ....). I visited your blog and i saw you still hide his information, and that wont help, you need to expose him publicly so anyone can help.

Send me his info. (pic. - mobile number - IBAN - ... ) and i will search.

I actually did, but someone from his town told me that he wants to sue for defamation... somehow the saudi defamation laws are different from US?  I don't know... In US, defamation means that he needs to prove that it's not true.  I would welcome a defamation lawsuit from him in US..

wendydong1 :

I actually did, but someone from his town told me that he wants to sue for defamation... somehow the saudi defamation laws are different from US?  I don't know... In US, defamation means that he needs to prove that it's not true.  I would welcome a defamation lawsuit from him in US..

Nothing in Saudi Arabia regards defamation like what the guy told you. I think a small video as suggested above would help very much. Use Twitter with the trending Saudi Arabia hashtags, this will get attention from Saudi officials. You can also reach Saudi famous social media accounts, this will make the video spread much faster.

Good luck.

It's good that everyone is supporting the OP.

However, I would like to highlight one very important point.   The legal system operates VERY differently to our perceptions of what is right or what is wrong especially in civil matters.   And in the GCC, on top of that, it is very different to US Laws.

Let's discuss some facts from the perspective of logic & the Law, keeping emotions out of it:

1) Defamation: The law DOES exist and applies specifically to social media - it is NOT like the US i.e. you don't have to prove that it is true or untrue; just the fact that someone is impugning your reputation is enough to cause you trouble.  Victims of defamation through social network media, including video clips, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter and Instagram can file a complaint with the police station located within the jurisdiction of the victim’s place of residence.  The penalty was codified within the provisions of Article III, paragraph 5 of the new law with imprisonment not exceeding one year or a fine not exceeding SR500,000 or both.   Secondly, he will NOT file a lawsuit against you in the US but in Saudi.  If found guilty in absentia, you would be subject to the punishment as listed above (if you ever enter Saudi) and this would also apply to people who propagate the information on social media on your behalf.  While this may not affect you immediately; what will happen is that it will impact your credibility on the overall case in front of Saudi courts

This is applicable to two areas in your case:
Defamation of a Natural or Legal Person through Social Media
Breaching the Privacy of a Natural Person by Taking Pictures or Recording Videos using Cell Phone

2) Legality of your case:  I mentioned this earlier as well.  In the absence of a promissory note or a contract which evidences the nature of the transfer; it is very difficult to get the money back.  You can use the bank transfer / whatsapp clip evidences to try to prove that the money was taken under false pretenses but it will be a VERY long road and won't be easy.   

One point I have to warn you about again; the US and Saudi are very very different.  If you start sharing in front of a Saudi court that this was a romance scam and that you stayed with the individual at the hotel or wherever; you would, in fact, be deemed to be admitting to pre-martial sex which can lead to YOU being jailed. 

As I said before, try to find a very good lawyer but then be ready to settle in for the long haul. 

And use social media very carefully, the Government officials may be sympathetic to you if this catches their attention but if a defamation lawsuit is filed against you then no one will touch this case.

XTang :

It's good that everyone is supporting the OP.

However, I would like to highlight one very important point.   The legal system operates VERY differently to our perceptions of what is right or what is wrong especially in civil matters.   And in the GCC, on top of that, it is very different to US Laws.

Let's discuss some facts from the perspective of logic & the Law, keeping emotions out of it:

1) Defamation: The law DOES exist and applies specifically to social media - it is NOT like the US i.e. you don't have to prove that it is true or untrue; just the fact that someone is impugning your reputation is enough to cause you trouble.  Victims of defamation through social network media, including video clips, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter and Instagram can file a complaint with the police station located within the jurisdiction of the victim’s place of residence.  The penalty was codified within the provisions of Article III, paragraph 5 of the new law with imprisonment not exceeding one year or a fine not exceeding SR500,000 or both.   Secondly, he will NOT file a lawsuit against you in the US but in Saudi.  If found guilty in absentia, you would be subject to the punishment as listed above (if you ever enter Saudi) and this would also apply to people who propagate the information on social media on your behalf.  While this may not affect you immediately; what will happen is that it will impact your credibility on the overall case in front of Saudi courts

This is applicable to two areas in your case:
Defamation of a Natural or Legal Person through Social Media
Breaching the Privacy of a Natural Person by Taking Pictures or Recording Videos using Cell Phone

2) Legality of your case:  I mentioned this earlier as well.  In the absence of a promissory note or a contract which evidences the nature of the transfer; it is very difficult to get the money back.  You can use the bank transfer / whatsapp clip evidences to try to prove that the money was taken under false pretenses but it will be a VERY long road and won't be easy.   

One point I have to warn you about again; the US and Saudi are very very different.  If you start sharing in front of a Saudi court that this was a romance scam and that you stayed with the individual at the hotel or wherever; you would, in fact, be deemed to be admitting to pre-martial sex which can lead to YOU being jailed. 

As I said before, try to find a very good lawyer but then be ready to settle in for the long haul. 

And use social media very carefully, the Government officials may be sympathetic to you if this catches their attention but if a defamation lawsuit is filed against you then no one will touch this case.

thanks for the reply.  If he sues me in Saudi, doesn't he need to serve me the lawsuit? The court cannot have a trial without ever notifying me at the least...   If so, how do they serve me in US?

https://www.expat.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=572504

I see this old thread, and from the description of it, the OP didn't have any promissory note as well. and many people told OP to file a police report?  How can I file a police report without coming to Saudi?

wendydong1 :

https://www.expat.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=572504

I see this old thread, and from the description of it, the OP didn't have any promissory note as well. and many people told OP to file a police report?  How can I file a police report without coming to Saudi?

Did you try visiting the nearest Saudi Consulate/ Embassy in your area?

wendydong1 :

https://www.expat.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=572504

I see this old thread, and from the description of it, the OP didn't have any promissory note as well. and many people told OP to file a police report?  How can I file a police report without coming to Saudi?

The money you lost is not small, why you didn't think of visiting Saudi Arabia one more time, search for lawer, file a police report, or anything else you can do here?

wendydong1 :

https://www.expat.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=572504

I see this old thread, and from the description of it, the OP didn't have any promissory note as well. and many people told OP to file a police report?  How can I file a police report without coming to Saudi?

You can't.  You physically or someone on your behalf has to file it.

thanks for the reply.  If he sues me in Saudi, doesn't he need to serve me the lawsuit? The court cannot have a trial without ever notifying me at the least...   If so, how do they serve me in US?

As I keep saying, this is not the US :)

abou.alseoud :
wendydong1 :

https://www.expat.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=572504

I see this old thread, and from the description of it, the OP didn't have any promissory note as well. and many people told OP to file a police report?  How can I file a police report without coming to Saudi?

The money you lost is not small, why you didn't think of visiting Saudi Arabia one more time, search for lawer, file a police report, or anything else you can do here?

I can file a police report. But how would it help searching for a lawyer? I wouldn't know how to find as many lawyers as I can even when I am there

XTang :

thanks for the reply.  If he sues me in Saudi, doesn't he need to serve me the lawsuit? The court cannot have a trial without ever notifying me at the least...   If so, how do they serve me in US?

As I keep saying, this is not the US :)

Then is there a way to find out if he has filed a suit or not against me?

Very sad story.
Keep in mind that you have evidence and good one, law system in here consider sms and whatsapp messages as well as the wire transfer.
So filing a case is not a waste.

maizouki :

Very sad story.
Keep in mind that you have evidence and good one, law system in here consider sms and whatsapp messages as well as the wire transfer.
So filing a case is not a waste.

I actually don't have any sms and whatsapp messages.  He communicated with me mostly on snapchat voice... i only recorded our last conversation where he said that he has borrowed the money and still intent to pay back.

Of course there is a way to find out - if you have a lawyer, he or she can check.  However, without a lawyer or you being here, there is absolutely no way to find out.

The other thing is that if you read the thread carefully (the one which you referred to earlier); the police report was never filed.  OP had a taxi driver friend who was an ex-cop and he scared that individual into paying the money by saying that they will go the police.

Practically speaking, the police would NOT have helped in the absence of proof (written agreement or promissory note) or even registered a case (at max they call the guy if you have proof and if that doesn't work, you go to civil court).  This is what the lawyer on that thread also asked in a question.  So simply put, they bluffed the guy into paying.  And it seems like that it wasn't a large amount like yours.

And the most important thing in that thread, which you need to understand; is that, this dispute was between two expats. So one of them was able to scare the other using tactics which expats would get understandably get worried by. You are facing a Saudi local.  He is not likely to be rattled so easily.

New topic