He pleaded that he needed cash—fast—because “Fat Tony” from the Chicago mob was after him to repay a gambling debt. Four different women fell for that story, and others believed they were investing in his insurance business. They all lost their money—possibly $250,000 all together.
Meet Andrew Funches, AKA Ty Fortner, AKA Drew Fortner, AKA Logan Zander—the newest case study on Lovefraud.com. Read:
Victims started seeking each other out via the Internet, and eventually found as many as 18 women who’d been swindled by the same con artist. Ten women are named in official records—lawsuits and Funches’ bankruptcy case. The others never tried to recover their money.
This band of female fighters approached law enforcement officials with a thick file of documentation that Funches/Fortner was a con artist who routinely met women on dating sites and scammed them. And what happened? Nothing.
Problems with “romance scams”
When police and prosecutors are considering whether to go after the perpetrator of a “romance scam,” they face two big problems.
First of all, usually the money isn’t stolen—the person voluntarily gave the money to the con artist. Yes, the victim was deceived, but she still wrote the check or handed over the cash.
Secondly, because the con artist is proclaiming his love, proposing marriage, and painting a glimmering picture of the future, and the victim believes him, she rarely makes the guy sign any kind of loan document or promissory note. So, when she finally realizes that she is just being scammed, she has proof that she gave him the money, but no proof that he ever promised to pay her back. When she goes to the police, or files a lawsuit, he simply claims that the money was a gift.
Frequently, the police and prosecutors see a case with so much “reasonable doubt” that they don’t even bother with it. They don’t want to start a case that they’re unlikely to win.
The other problem with serial scammers is that because of the Internet, they can find victims in many different cities and states. This means that the cases are often in different jurisdictions.
Funches, for example, had five victims in Minnesota, but each was in a different city. The correct place to report someone like Funches is to the local police department. However, cops only have the authority to investigate issues in their particular communities. So the local police see one woman scammed for a few thousand dollars. They can’t prosecute the guy for swindling five women across the state, let alone 18 women in multiple states.
So who does investigations across state lines? The FBI. But now that the world is constantly on an elevated terrorism alert, the FBI focuses on terrorists and other high-profile crimes. They simply can’t be bothered with women being conned in romance scams.
Fadi Boulos Chaiban
All of this makes it remarkable that detectives in San Diago are looking for women who may have been victimized by a man named Fadi Boulos Chaiban, AKA Eddie Morretti, AKA Anthony Paul Marino, AKA Eddie Baker. This guy defrauded at least two different women of approximately $169,000.
Police say this guy operates throughout Southern California and possibly Las Vegas. Anyone who has been victimized by him or has any further information is invited to call the Detective Jim Johnson of the San Diego police at 619-692-4833, or Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477. They may even be eligible for a reward.
Read Man accused of wooing, then defrauding women, on UTSanDiego.com.
It’s rare for con artists involved in romance scams to be prosecuted. When they are, they usually receive simply a slap on the wrist.
Therefore, the only way to combat these predators is through exposure. I know for a fact that our True Lovefraud Stories have saved women and men from falling victim to people that we’ve profiled, if they’re dumb enough to keep using their same name.
Andrew Funches has already demonstrated his preference for changing identities. So our story may work for awhile, until he comes up with another name.