LAKE ELSINORE, Calif. - A Lake Elsinore, Calif. woman says she was duped out of thousands of dollars by a man who posed as a doctor on an online dating site and authorities say she may not be his only victim, reports CBS Los Angeles.
When Andrew Dean from Newport Beach emailed Lisa Shrout on an online dating site in June, Shrout was interested, according to the station. Dean, who identified himself as a surgeon, and Shrout, reportedly hit it off immediately.
"He's very smart," Shrout told the station. "He knows what to say."
Shrout felt so comfortable with her new friend, she told him she had health concerns and she says Dean offered to help. He examined her in her home, according to the station.
Gale Williams also met the same man online- but he went by the name Dusty.
"He told me he was an investment banker," Williams told the station.
As it turns out, "Andrew" is not a doctor and "Dusty" is no investment banker either, says the Riverside County Sheriff's Department.
Their date's real name is Andrew Hernandez, authorities say, and he was recently arrested in Lake Elsinore on suspicion of sexual assault. He is also accused of stealing $65,000 in jewelry from Shrout alone, according to CBS Los Angeles.
Shrout says "the doctor" offered to help turn her diamond ring, earrings and a necklace into cash.
"I think he's a worthless piece of crap, that he would steal from me and my children," she told the station.
She says that after she gave the jewelry to him, he disappeared and so did her jewels.
"I told my daughter, 'Get your stuff. We're going to the police station. I made a big mistake.' "
Williams, 67, knows exactly how Shrout feels.
"I just wanted someone to love me," Williams said. "I trusted him. Like a stupid idiot. I feel really dumb."
Williams let Hernandez, 48, move in with her and she says she gave him more than $100,000 to invest for her. All of that money, she says, is gone.
CBS Los Angeles spoke to two other women who told similar tales about Hernandez and all of them claimed to be out of cash. They said they were also duped by Hernandez and his many identities; he allegedly told these victims that he was an officer with Homeland Security and a colonel in the military.
"I can forgive myself for making a stupid decision," Shrout says, "but he can burn in hell."