WOBURN, Mass. - A married Weston man allegedly stole more than $200,000 from four women he met on dating websites since 2006, CBS News station WBZ-TV in Boston reports.
Albert Bellamy Lovering, 54, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to 23 larceny charges and a charge of being a common and notorious thief. Bail was set at $10,000 cash.
Lovering allegedly deceived the women into thinking he was romantically attached to them but in need of some money. He then convinced the women to help him pay off his various debts.
"The defendant's cruel actions induced the victims to lend him many thousands of dollars, with the expectation he would repay them," Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone said in a statement Wednesday.
Authorities said Lovering met the first victim on Yahoo's dating site in 2006 and then later began meeting the woman once or twice a week. He convinced her to help him buy an item from eBay and also co-sign a loan for him. He took the loan money and did not give her anything in return, police said.
In 2008, Lovering met his second alleged victim by placing a romance ad on Craigslist. He initially asked for help purchasing an eBay item for $1,645 and, after showering the woman with romantic dinners and professions of love, he convinced her to lend him more than $28,000. He never saw the woman again but continued to communicate online.
Lovering allegedly later told the second victim that he was hospitalized in New Hampshire with a serious health condition but would not name the hospital and made it clear he did not want any visitors. He told her he could not be discharged from the hospital until all of his medical bills were paid off, so she sent him several checks over a period of time.
The second victim believed that Lovering's friend, a fictional man named "Doug Spencer," was picking up his mail and bringing him the checks for his signature at the hospital. Each time, however, Lovering cashed the checks himself at the bank despite the fact he claimed he was hospitalized. In all, the second victim allegedly lent him more than $70,000 before she realized he was lying.
Lovering met the third alleged victim on Craigslist's romance section a few months later. He arranged for a dinner in late June 2008, when he told the victim he owed the Internal Revenue Service money in back taxes. Authorities said she lent Lovering $7,200 and then never saw him again.
The fourth alleged victim met Lovering through the dating website PlentyofFish.com in late 2008. They met for drinks once and continued their relationship via text messages, phone calls and emails but never again saw each other in person. Lovering allegedly told the fourth victim he owed the IRS, and she gave him $1,500 as a loan.
Then, a month later in January 2009, he allegedly told the victim he was hospitalized in New Hampshire, using the same ruse that duped the second victim. He said that "Doug Spencer" would bring him his checks until he was able to be discharged from the hospital. In all, the fourth victim allegedly lent Lovering more than $100,000.
He is due back in court Sept. 16 for a pretrial conference.