Brevard County Sheriff’s detectives say they are close to the arrest of a man linked to an alleged romance con game they say has bilked more than 20 Florida women out of $1 million since 2003.
Investigators say Scott Gregory Campbell has been using a dating scheme that starts with romance but ultimately comes down to a smooth pitch to invest in an “American Idol” type talent show he calls “Give Me a Chance.”
Major Todd Goodyear of the Brevard County Sheriff’s Criminal Division says Campbell asked women to invest in the show with a promise of returns of up to 30 percent.
According to Goodyear, the great returns never happened. Local 6 found that Campbell has been contacting local women who had already lost thousands of dollars in his investment deals.
One of his alleged victims says he never lets up "until he gets the money."
“A lot of these guys are arrogant enough to believe they’re never going to get caught or that they will beat the rap,” Goodyear said.
For the past five years Campbell has been using online dating sites like Match.com and FriendFinder.com to meet women and convince them to invest in “his dream.”
One woman took $30,000 out of her 401-K to invest in Campbell’s talent show in 2011.
Now she is paying back the loan and Campbell keeps making excuses.
“He needs to be stopped before he ruins other people’s lives,” she said.
At least 23 women have come forward accusing Campbell of fraud and larceny. One victim took a second mortgage on her home so she could invest $70,000.
An arrest warrant was issued in Osceola County for Campbell in January.
The state has been negotiating with Campbell’s attorney but Campbell remains a free man.
Although it is believed he lives in the Kissimmee area he has no properties, cars or drivers license in his name in the state of Florida.
Campbell left a cellphone voice message to one of his alleged victims that seems to defy the potential charges he faces.
”If you think I’m gonna run now you must be crazy," he said in the call. "This is my company and my idea and my dream.”
The FBI reports that in 2012 alone so-called "Romance Scams" cost women between 20 and 60 years of age more than $20 million.
Former Air Force intelligence expert Charles Johnson advises men and women how to find legitimate relationships on line.
In Johnson’s book “How to Find the Right One and Make it Last,” he devotes a full chapter to the mystery of Internet dating.
According to Johnson, romance scams are happening around the world. One of the major red flags for any woman, according to Johnson is when money becomes the main topic of conversation.
“It all sounds very legitimate ,but ladies, let him show you what he can do without your money,” Johnson said.
If you have any information in this case you are asked to call Brevard County Sheriff’s Office at 321-264-5201.