Guida and Kim King
A few days later, on Dec. 1, 2009, Kim King, of Uniontown, Pennsylvania, sent an email to Sam Conte, a friend of Tom Guida.
To her surprise, Tom Guida himself answered.
Kim and Guida had been seeing each other years earlier, in 2002 and 2003. When they were last in touch, Guida had told Kim that she should move on with her life, because he was going off to the war, and didn’t know when or if he would return.
They’d met online, and from the beginning, Guida told Kim he was a Ph.D. psychotherapist and a member of the Marine reserves, specializing in psychological interrogation and urban warfare.
The U.S. invasion of Iraq began on March 19, 2003. A week later, Guida told Kim he would be deployed.
Guida sent the following email on March 31, 2003:
well it is about 10 AM Monday morning and I am happy to report that we made it here safe and sound. I have been thinking about you since we left and I know that our souls are comforting one another. It is time to kick some butt secure this place and get home so we can be together. It is going to be pretty difficult here things are not going as planned but things are going to fall into place and all objectives will be met and we will free a repressed people and keep the world safe from weapons of mass destruction. Wow I should be a politician. I do agree with all my heart and soul in those objectives and will do everything in my power to meet them. My sister does have your e-mail address and will contact you if anything goes wrong or she hears something before I can get a chance to contact you. I am not sure she will write to just say hello and chat she is kind of shy. I promise to keep you as informed as I can. we will be attending some intelligence meetings at Central Command, and going to Kuwait for transport to our destination in Iraq. I will write you one more time before I hit Iraq then it will be very sporadic as to when I can write but I will keep you as up to date as i can. I also gave your e-mail address to my business partner Sam who is like a brother to me and his brother is a special forces operator like myself and if he hears anything he will let you know. You are the bright spot in my life.
But Guida didn’t have to stay in Iraq for long. In April 2003, Kim received an email from Guida’s boss, “Scott.” Scott knew that Kim and Guida had been corresponding, but they’d never met. Since Guida was back in the U.S. temporarily, Scott wanted to arrange a surprise for him a chance to meet her.
Scott asked Kim to go to the Marriott Courtyard hotel in Princeton, New Jersey, on April 11, 2003. He said Guida would show up, expecting to meet a military colleague but she would be there instead!
Kim played along. When she and Guida met in the hotel lobby, he seemed surprised and thrilled to see her. Still, Kim was cautious, and asked him for identification. “He showed me a military ID and had a set of dog tags,” Kim says.
They went out to dinner and had a great time. Kim returned to Pennsylvania, and continued to correspond with Guida she was smitten.
Then Guida made his announcement that he was going overseas and she should move on. Guida wouldn’t be able to contact her, but he would send information through his friend, Sam Conte. From time to time, Kim wrote to Sam, but felt that Sam didn’t like her.
Kim King reconnects with Guida
Then, in 2009, six and a half years after Guida left, she reached out to Sam again. That’s when Guida replied.
Two weeks later, Guida traveled to Pennsylvania to visit her. They resumed their relationship. Kim usually drove to a hotel in Somerset or Mount Laurel, New Jersey, to see him. Periodically, however, Guida was out of touch, saying he was on secret military missions.
After about a year, Kim wanted to know where their relationship was heading. “He started spinning a story about how he bought me an engagement ring a Hearts on Fire diamond but he had to finish making the payments,” she says.
They planned their wedding, and in April 2010, Kim got a wedding gown. The wedding date, however, kept changing which Guida blamed on his continuing military obligations.
In an email dated May 25, 2011, Kim tried to explain to Guida why she “fretted” about wanting to set a wedding date. She wrote:
I have this notion in my head, that once we are engaged/married, that you will be more protected in a spiritual sort of way. That, once we are linked that way, that in my heart you will be surrounded by a stronger karma so to speak. It is kind of hard to explain thru an email, and I know you must think I am goofy in the head. But sometimes I am so worried that something is going to happen to you or I before we connect that circle around us, that I may end up sounding pushy, and that is not what I want to sound like or do ”¦ You know how the story goes that if you wear a garland of garlic, that it will keep vampires away ”¦”¦ (and yes you may chuckle), well its something like that, sort of ”¦”¦its a belief ”¦”¦ like a symbol of protection ”¦”¦ I guess I just want to do what ever I can to keep the “vampires” away from you. And I believe in the strength of that connection. I believe in the strength of us.
To this, Guida replied:
Hey Honey I do understand everything u were saying and love the fact we are so connected. Once I get home for more then (sic) a day the ring and wedding won’t be hard. I have an idea of the style but have to be home to see it and then pay for it lol. So I think an August engagement and Sept wedding is a reality. I love u and will talk to u later.
Then Guida started complaining about headaches and health issues. “We’re planning a wedding,” Kim says, “and he said he had glioblastoma brain cancer.”
Guida also started complaining about money he didn’t have enough to cover his expenses.
So Kim gave him money to reserve a room at a hotel for the wedding and to pay for wedding invitations. She bought a wedding band for Guida. She also loaned him money towards his medical care and his father’s “hospice care.”
In August 2011, Guida sent Kim an email with instructions on how to send money to his prepaid Visa card, promising to pay her back.
They continued to plan their wedding, even though, on July 23, 2011, Guida had already married a woman from Toms River, New Jersey.
Guida strings Kim along
Guida kept the illusion with Kim going. On September 1, 2011, he wrote in an email,
Today I was able to pay for my dads aide and make the last payment on ur rings so the next time I come home we can be officially engaged.
Kim replied with an email excitedly describing the rhinestone earrings, bracelets, necklace and headband she bought to wear with her wedding gown. She wrote:
Can you tell how excited I am ”¦”¦ lordy the effect you have on me ”¦”¦ lol. The ring is the best news and the only thing that will top that is you coming home longer then a day and us getting married. 🙂 ”¦”¦ As you said we are sooooooo close and I am soooooo happy, I wish I could kiss you ”¦”¦
The next day, Guida responded:
I am so happy that things are coming together. I love you and can’t wait for you to be my wife ”¦
The hunting went well we got all of our guys and we will talk to them a bit and turn them over to the authorities.
Well I have not heard back from my sister so if you get a chance to put something on the card that would be great. I am so sorry I usually manage my money much better. I love u and I am headed into a briefing. I will email later should be a couple of hours. Will tty! thank you again baby.
Kim did put money on his prepaid card. In all, Kim sent Guida more than $4,000.
Their wedding did not happen in September, nor in October, but they continued to see each other from time to time at hotels. During one of these visits in late 2011, Kim wanted answers.
Kim discovers a credit application
She waited for Guida to leave the hotel he always left for about 30 minutes to “check on something.” This time while he was gone, Kim took an action she never did before: She searched his briefcase.
“What I found was an application for a Visa card and checking account for him and another woman,” Kim says.
She was shocked, but she didn’t want to confront Guida. Instead, she wrote down information and took pictures of the documents with her cell phone. She was just putting his briefcase back into the closet when Guida returned.
“I didn’t say nothing that night,” Kim says. “I came home and started researching.”
Using Internet searches, Kim found both of Guida’s wives and his sister. She found his cousin. She talked to Guida’s father who wasn’t in a hospice. She figured out that Guida’s friend, Sam Conte, and his boss, Scott, didn’t exist they were email identities created by Guida.
Kim was crushed. But when she wanted answers, Guida told her to “stop being a drama queen and the victim.”
Eventually, all she could do was try to recoup her money. For six months, Guida sent her $50 per month.
“It took me four and a half months to figure out he was using that as a control mechanism,” Kim says. “I couldn’t let go and move forward I would chase him for the money. I finally said, ”˜Forget it; you’re not worth it.’”
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