Private Pics Cost Glen Rock 'Sextortion' Victim $20,000, Police Pursue Fugitive Cyberthief

An elderly lonely heart from Glen Rock was “sextorted” out of $20,000 after sending compromising photos to a scammer he thought was a woman -- and was about to hand over another 20 grand when his bank mercifully refused, authorities said.

Ali H. Maman

Ali H. Maman

Photo Credit: BACKGROUND: / INSETS: Boyd A. Loving (file photo), LinkedIn

Online romance scammer Ali H. Maman, 59, of Frederick, MD (photo above), has so far eluded authorities, Glen Rock Police Chief Dean Ackermann said this week.

Posing as a woman, Maman communicated with the Glen Rock senior through Instagram and WhatsApp, the chief said on Wednesday, April 10.

The victim was convinced to share the risqué photos, then was contacted by someone else who demanded a $20,000 bank wire transfer in exchange for not posting them online, Ackermann said.

The victim wired the money last July to a company called DDK Logistics with an address at Maman’s home.

He promptly got a demand for second $20,000 payment, the chief said.

It’s a common scam. The thieves convince you to share nude pics of yourself, then threaten to “sextort” you by sharing them with all your social media contacts if you don't pony up.

An estimated 60% of online romance scammers reel in their victims via Instagram and Snapchat, authorities say.

Local banks have become more attuned to such scams against the elderly, in particular. In this case, the Glen Rock victim’s branch refused a second transfer.

A subpoena got Officer Sarah Orsita records of the account where the victim has wired the initial 20 thousand, Ackermann said.

She and her detective colleagues found the transfer, as well as various other deposits “that appear to be fraud-related,” the chief said.

Police called Maman, who identified himself as the owner of DDK Logistics and of the bank account, Ackermann said.

“He denied any fraudulent deposits and then promptly hung up,” the chief said.

Maman is currently a fugitive wanted for receiving stolen property. Ackermann said his information has been entered into the National Crime Information Center database, which is accessed by law enforcement nationwide.

Meanwhile, the investigation continues.

While 20 large is a significant sum to many, it pales in comparison to a whopping $450,000 in crypto lost in 2022 by another romance scam victim from Glen Rock.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, a staggering $1.3 BILLION was lost by 70,000 victims of romance scams across the country that year.

How do the con artists do it? Easy.

“They’re masters at the art of manipulation,” Ackermann said.

They pay complete attention to the information you share, then transform themselves into your perfect match.

You like this thing? So do they.

You want to settle down? Get out! Them, too.

Forget about meeting. They’ve already rendered that moot by claiming they’re stationed overseas or work on an oil rig. They could say they’re sick or hurt. Or even in prison.

Most victims unfortunately have their hearts set on a connection and completely miss – or simply ignore -- the signs.

Those people "don't suspect that they're falling victim until it is too late."

Dating apps, of course, are the scammers’ preferred method. Many also begin on social media platforms.

The cyberfootsies then quickly shifts to WhatsApp, Google Chat or Telegram.

The scammers collect their money in the most unprotected ways possible – wire transfers, for instance.

Ackermann and his law enforcement colleagues hate to see anyone taken that way. They hope that the real-live incidents that they describe help keep people from becoming easy marks.

Think about it: Someone you’ve met online but not in person isn’t anyone you truly know, no matter how long the particular “friendship” has lasted, the chief said.

Some victims are “groomed over months and even years” before the scammer springs the trap, he noted.

“NEVER send funds, wire transfers, gift cards, cryptocurrency, or any other type of monetary device to anyone that you do not personally know,” Ackermann said.

And be sure to call police immediately if anyone tries to get you to do so, the chief said. Remember: Police would rather prevent someone from being scammed than end up taking a report from a victim whose money isn't coming back.

Anyone who thinks they may be a victim – or simply has questions about an online transaction – should call their local police department or detective bureau immediately, Ackermann said.

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