For love and money: 3 scorned women seek to bring one-time friend and lover to justice
Madeline McNair, W5
Published Friday, October 24, 2014 2:00PM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, October 26, 2014 12:11AM EDT
When you get Gina Doornbosch, Rena Swift, and Cathy McGillivray in a room together, there’s no denying these three women share an incredible bond.
They are talking non-stop, finishing each other’s sentences and constantly laughing. There’s a sense of closeness between them that you’d expect of childhood friends.
It’s hard to imagine that two years ago these women were complete strangers. Strangers who were brought together in an unconventional way by one man – Robert Kramar.
In February 2012, Gina Doornbosch met Robert Kramar on the dating website “Plenty of Fish.” Doornbosch was instantly attracted to him. He was handsome, charming and funny.
Their first date lasted 13 hours – they walked around Vancouver’s Granville Island, went to dinner and watched the Super Bowl together.
After that first date, their relationship progressed quickly. In August 2012, after eight months of dating, Kramar asked Doornbosch to marry him.
“I was so happy. Like I haven’t been that happy in years. I felt that I was very fortunate to have him,” recalled Doornbosch in an interview with W5.
She was committed, but could the same be said for Kramar? Though he’d asked Doornbosch to marry him, unbeknownst to her, Kramar was still active on the dating website “Plenty of Fish.”
That’s where Rena Swift met him in November 2012.
For Swift, a single mother of two, it was a fresh start. “He did old fashioned things, always held the door, took my jacket,” she told W5 in an interview. “He always put me first.”
Their relationship also moved quickly. It wasn’t long after they met that the two started talking about money. Swift says Kramar told her he invested in small business loans with high interest returns. She opened a new bank account and cashed in her RSPs – worth nearly $200,000.
While Swift’s relationship with Kramar was picking up in early 2013, Doornbosch’s relationship with him was not going smoothly.
Kramar had also encouraged Doornbosch that she would earn high rates of interest if she invested with him. She says she invested thousands of dollars, but months later she wasn’t getting the promised returns.
For Cathy McGillivray, the story starts differently, but ends similarly. McGillivray wasn’t romantically involved with Kramar, but a friend of hers was dating Kramar – at the same time he was seeing Doornbosch and Swift.
McGillivray was worried about having enough money for her retirement. She spoke openly about these concerns with her friend and Kramar, who she says offered to invest her money in his business, promising high rates of return.
“He said, ‘I’ll work it out for you, but the interest is going to be really good. And you can use that to further save for your future,’” recalled McGillivray in an interview with W5.
She invested $10,000, and soon after invested a further $30,000. While McGillivray initially received interest payments, it wasn’t long before the money stopped coming.
Suspecting that there was something wrong, she began looking into Kramar’s past. Every night, she’d come home from work and spend hours on the computer searching. Her digging crossed paths with Doornbosch who was also checking into Kramar’s past.
“Finally I found someone that knew about him and believed that yeah, this guy is up to no good. I was so relieved,” said McGillivray.
Together, Doornbosch and McGillivray kept digging and discovered that Kramar had a dubious past. They discovered more women, a previous marriage, a bankruptcy and a trail of questionable activity in several provinces.
Kramar told Doornbosch he was doing business in Kelowna, in B.C.’s Okanagan. That’s where Doornbosch discovered it wasn’t business, but another woman: Rena Swift.
Doornbosch’s searches also revealed that Kramar had been charged with sexual assault and sexual interference in Winnipeg in 2011. He was released on bail with the condition that he have no contact with children under the age of 18.
Doornbosch and McGillivray suspected Rena had children who were under 18. The RCMP were informed and went to see Rena who was living in Kelowna.
On June 15, 2013, Kramar was arrested for breaching his Winnipeg bail condition. He pleaded guilty and served 30 days in the Kamloops Regional Correctional Centre.
Following his release, Kramar was sent back to Winnipeg to face his previous charges of sexual assault and sexual interference. Those charges have not been proven in court and a trial date is set for early in 2015.
For Swift, Kramar’s arrest in June 2013 was devastating. Robert Kramar was not the man she thought she knew and she discovered two other women who, like her, had given Kramar money and believed they had been conned by him.. She credits Doornbosch and McGillivray for helping her come to that realization.
“They didn’t just stick their head in the sand like most people do and pretend it didn’t happen. They were brave and stood up.”
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