APOLLO (KDKA) — An Apollo man says he’s been ripped off in what investigators describe as a sophisticated “mail order bride” scheme. So he decided to reach out to Get Marty for help.
“I need some help. I made a huge mistake,” says 69-year-old Jerry Mentzel.READ MORE: City Releases Farmers Market Schedule For Spring, Summer And Fall
Jerry’s story is awful.
His wife of 43 years died from cancer. Jerry was lonely. He found a 24-year-old bride on an Internet site and married her.
“I’m mad at myself. I look in the mirror and say, ‘Why did you do this?” he says.
Jerry brought the 24-year-old Moroccan woman to the Pittsburgh area last year. Before she would agree to the marriage, he was asked to pay $32,000 to her “brother-in-law” in London.
The marriage lasted less than two weeks. Jerry signed off on divorce papers that ordered him to pay his wife alimony.
“I thought she wanted a better life. She wanted a green card,” says Jerry.READ MORE: Penguins Auctioning Off Jerseys To Benefit Dollar Energy Fund
According to the FBI, their Internet Crime Complaint Center receives nearly 6,000 complaints for victims of “romance scams” each year. The FBI reports citizens lose more than $50 million.
“The average victim can be taken for $70,000,” says Dave Abbate with Homeland Security.
Homeland Security officials cannot provide details, but promise they are taking a look at the Mentzel case. In general terms, Homeland Security agents will look into possible fraud charges.
Meanwhile, Jerry is embarrassed.
“I learned my lesson. It’s a tough lesson to learn at 69-years-old,” he says.
If you’d like Marty to help you solve your problem, email him at GetMarty@kdka.com.MORE NEWS: 'Extraordinary People': Flight 93 Families Open Nominations For New Heroism Award