With multiple aliases but the same scam, Andrew Funches swindles more than 10 women
It all started with a wink.
In January 2007, Tamara White, of Illinois, was nearing the end of her online dating subscription. She hadn’t met anyone, and White’s friend, who did meet her husband online, said it was because her profile was too serious. The friend edited White’s profile to describe her as “full of fun and lots of giggles.”
White didn’t think the change was an improvement. “To me, it screamed ‘dumb blonde,'” she said. But the giggles did draw a wink from Andrew Funches of Chicago, Illinois.
As they started exchanging e-mails, White asked Funches a multitude questions. Funches told her that he was from Minnesota, her home state. He worked for big health insurance companies and answered the phone when White called there. He was charming and interested in what White did, but didn’t seem to care whether or not she had money. Two weeks later, White had plans to go to Chicago, so they arranged to meet.
It was a pleasant encounter, with easy conversation and banter. White described herself as “romantically inclined,” so she took the next step. She ran a background check on Funches. It turned up a bankruptcy from 1992.
Two weeks later, Funches said he had business in White’s area of the state, and met her briefly for coffee. He then asked for a date the next weekend in Chicago. Over dinner at a nice restaurant, White came right out and questioned Funches about the bankruptcy.
Funches appeared to be embarrassed. He explained that when he was 19 or 20 years old he declared bankruptcy because he couldn’t pay his college loans. “He was very contrite,” White related. “He said, ‘I was young and stupid.’ It didn’t shock me—I had a friend who did the same thing.”
Money to the mob
Two weeks later, while White was in Mexico on business, she received a desperate phone call and repeated e-mails from Funches.
“He was practically in tears,” White said. “He told me he owed somebody money. He said, ‘I’m so embarrassed, but the guy won’t leave me alone.'”
Funches told White that he owed money on a gambling debt. He had gone overboard, borrowed $10,000, and hadn’t paid it back. Now, a mob tough guy named “Fat Tony,” who lived near him in Chicago, was pressuring him to pay up.
Funches called White four times while she was in Mexico. By this time, White had decided that she was not going to become romantically involved with the guy he obviously had issues. But because she was a compassionate person, White eventually agreed to help Funches out of his jam.
She lent Funches $3,000. But it wasn’t enough Funches said the interest was mounting at an exorbitant rate, and Fat Tony wouldn’t leave him alone. He talked White into another loan, and another, and another. In two quick months, White loaned him $28,200.
Funches signs promissory note
Funches agreed to repayment terms and White drew up a promissory note. It took her four months until August 2007 to get Funches to sign it. He was supposed to pay $400 per month, which he did for a short time. Then the repayments fell to $200 per month, then $100 per month. Then they stopped.
At the end of 2008, Tamara White contacted an attorney and filed a lawsuit against Andrew Funches. Between the promissory note and two additional loans White had made, Funches owed her a total of $31,272.
The attorneys hired a process server to serve Funches with the lawsuit. After several attempts to find him at home, the process server finally saw him walking towards his car. Here’s what happened, according to White:
“Andrew Funches?” the process server asked.
“No, my name is Charles Andrew Fortner, I go by Ty,” Funches replied.
“Is there an Andrew Funches?”
“No, I think he moved.”
Fortner was, of course, Funches, and he was later served. The court ordered him to pay the money owed, plus $4,964 for interest, costs and attorneys’ fees. On June 9, 2010, White won a judgment for $36,236.
Funches still didn’t pay the judgment, so White garnished his wages. Unfortunately the company where he worked fired him, and she collected nothing.