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US science fiction writer defrauds women looking for love online


Summary of story from Marietta Patch, October 6, 2011

Mitchell Gross, a science fiction writer from Marietta, Georgia, was arraigned in federal court in Atlanta on Thursday after being indicted for wire fraud and money laundering.

Gross, 61, whose pen name is Mitchell Graham, has been accused of stealing millions of  US dollars from women he met on a Jewish online dating service, including US$2.9 million from one woman with whom he had a “romantic relationship”.

When approaching the women, Gross is said to have used fictional names for himself and a fake investment company, which he persuaded his victims to “invest” in.

“This defendant allegedly met women through an online dating service and posed as someone who wanted a committed romantic relationship, but who in fact was interested in luring them into investing their savings with a phony company,” Atlanta US Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said.

“The unsuspecting victims transferred millions of dollars into bank accounts controlled by the defendant, who allegedly depleted the funds to pay back previous victims and enrich himself.”

Gross, whom The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported is also a disbarred attorney, pleaded not guilty to seven counts of wire fraud and seven counts of money laundering.

He is being held without bond and faces up to 20 years in prison for each count of wire fraud, and 10 years for each count of money laundering.

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