DennisBeaverMay 17, 2014   •  By Dennis Beaver

Recently divorced after a 20-year marriage, Ted was lonely.

At a friend’s suggestion, he registered on the dating website, Plenty of It was Dec. 7, a day which would become his very own Pearl Harbor.

Within minutes, he received a message from Karen, close to his age-early 50s-also divorced and “needing someone like me to establish a lasting relationship.”

While the skies above Hanford were clear that day, Ted had nevertheless become a target, not of Japanese Zeros, but dollar signs followed by ever increasing numbers and zeroes, Karen in the pilot’s seat.

“It was unbelievable.” Ted continued. “We spoke on the phone a couple of days and then met for pizza.  Here was someone who was everything that I was looking for and desperately needed. After our pizza date, we saw each other every day. She made me feel so special. I had never met anyone so interested in a guy like me, wanting to know everything about me.”

We would learn in a moment that “seeing each other,” meant just slightly more than talking about the weather.  During that first week, Karen asked our Hanford reader to be tested for sexually transmitted diseases, insisting that she see the lab results.

He did, was disease free, and gave her the test results.

And her lab results? we inquired.

Oh, she had already been tested, and was also negative, but I did not see the results.

Didn’t you think that was strange?

“I trusted her,” was his answer.

As the staff at You and the Law would learn in our frustrating efforts to help Ted wake up — here was a naive, desperate man, lacking common sense and with a backbone made of Jell-O.

He became the perfect victim of a scheming sociopath and what would unfold over the next few months started with a steady diet of sex beginning 10 days from their first meeting, Karen wanting to spend every possible minute together.

Am I so special?

 “Let’s use our common sense,” warns Santa Maria based private investigator Riley Parker. “You do not know this person well and she’s climbing into your bed quickly. You have to ask yourself, ‘Am I so special that she wants me?’ ”

“The answer is No!”

“Sex is the sociopath’s lever to get their target’s compliance with whatever is desired: money, jewelry, gifts, fine dining, all depending on the target’s sophistication — the chance of the person being scammed finally realizing it,” Parker adds.

Over the next few months, Karen would receive expensive gifts, a great deal of repair work done on her house, hundreds of dollars in medical bills paid and many, many trips to Pismo Beach at her insistence.

Despite the fact that Karen’s behavior became increasingly hostile, admitting that she was on several medications for bad anxiety, and had wide, scary mood swings, six months into the relationship Ted asked her to be his wife!

“She insisted that I propose to her properly on the beach at Pismo, on bended knee, and hand me the engagement ring which she picked out and cost me over $5,500,” he meekly explained.

Within a week-after Ted suffered through repeated arguments and being called every name in the book — Karen sent him a text message, reading, “It’s over. If you contact me, I will call the police.”

And the engagement ring?

The law sees this as a “gift given in contemplation of marriage.”  So, no marriage, then the ring must be returned. Ted asked for it back.

But ever resourceful and evil, Karen had a plan for that, too.

You must mix skepticism with romance

“The most important thing to understand is that there are folks out there who are preyed on because they are lonely with some vision of what they would like to have existing in their life: A relationship, a replacement for someone they lost through death or divorce,” P.I. Parker observes.

“When targeting someone who has wealth, they will ask for a small amount of money. ‘Oh, I forgot my wallet, do you have 50 bucks?’ Quickly it will evolve to, ‘Gee I wish so much I could have that new Corvette, but it’s just not in my budget.’

“They think, ‘Here’s the guy who has made some money, and he will spend it on me. Look at me, I am one good looking dame,’ and this rich guy — often doctors — fall fast and are out a fortune. It happens often,” concluded P.I. Parker.

Next time: We will tell you all about that engagement ring and how to protect yourself or a family member from the Karens of the world, keeping far away from the clutches of a sociopath.

Dennis Beaver practices law in Bakersfield and enjoys hearing from his readers. Contact Dennis Beaver.