Alleged B.C. fraud victim 'got caught up in the romance,' lost her house
Published Tuesday, March 13, 2018 10:58AM EDT
A B.C. woman says she lost her townhouse and was forced to declare bankruptcy after an accused serial fraudster allegedly took her for approximately $243,000.
The woman, who asked to be identified only as “Amanda,” alleges she was defrauded by Reza Moeinian, who currently faces more than two dozen fraud and theft charges relating to other alleged victims in the Coquitlam area. Coquitlam RCMP released a photo of Moeinian last week following his arrest, asking other potential romance fraud victims to come forward.
Amanda says she recognized the photo as her former romantic partner, whom she knew by the name Tony Aquilini. She says she met “Tony” through an online dating site in the summer of 2015, and that he began asking her for money in early 2016. She claims he urged her to loan money to his friends, pressured her into signing up for 13 different cash-back credit cards and then drove her around to various banks to make cash withdrawals from those credit cards.
“He had me drain those credit cards in a matter of a two- or three-day period,” she told CTV Vancouver.
She says she knew she had been taken when her line of credit was frozen over a bad cheque “Tony” signed using a different name.
“I actually saw a physical image of the cheque and it had a totally different name on it, and it was then I realized I’d been had,” Amanda said.
RCMP have accused Moeinian, 37, of “engineering romantic relationships in order to steal substantial amounts of money.” They allege in a news release that he poses as a foreign businessman and uses a pseudonym to meet women through online dating sites. He is thought to have been operating in Anmore, Belcarra, Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam, where police suspect there may be more victims.
“Moeinian is accused of dating victims for months in order to develop a deep romantic bond, and then convincing victims to sign up for credit cards and lines of credit which are promptly drained,” Cpl. Michael McLaughlin, of Coquitlam RCMP, is quoted as saying in the news release from last week.
Amanda claims she fell victim to Moeinian because she was blinded by love.
“All women dream of… the prince (who) rides in on the white horse to sweep you off your feet,” she said. “Honestly, my gut told me early on this isn’t right, and I ignored it.”
She added that she blames herself for losing her house. “It makes me sick,” Amanda said, adding: “I got caught up in the romance.”
Moeinian is accused of fraud, theft, possession of property obtained by crime and causing someone to use a forged document related to other alleged victims. He remains in police custody pending a bail hearing next month.
The allegations against Moeinian have not been tested in court.
With files from CTV Vancouver