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Zoey, JD
Zoey, JD, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 27119
Experience:  Active member of the NYS bar since 1989
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My friend is being held by authorities in the Netherlands

Customer Question

My friend is being held by authorities in the Netherlands for having gold with him. He was traveling from Paris to the US.with documentation for his homes and his gold inheritance. They are saying it is contraband and either pay a large fine or 5 years in prison. What can I do ?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Zoey, JD replied 1 year ago.
My name is ***** ***** I will be assisting you with your question.
This particular fact pattern is one we hear several times every day, and it is associated with internet romance scams.
Is your "friend" someone you have met on an internet dating or social networking site and have not yet met at all in person? If so, he has set you up for a very popular scam we call the "stranded traveler." That's when a person you met on the internet sweeps you off of your feet by falling in love with and seducing you on line at warp speed. He talks marriage, future, and forever though you've never met and have confirmed nothing at all about him. Then, on his way -- supposedly -- to meet you with his bars of gold that will allow you to live happily and wealthily ever after, he gets stopped by the authorities, and only your money will do to get it off the hook. YOu'll be told to wire it via Western Union or MoneyGram, but if you pay the money, you'll find there's only a new money request because of another problem. And another. And another. And another. And aother. And another. Until you catch on or go broke, whichever comes first.
This scam comes complete with bogus documents, with phony lawyers and phony customs agents. None of it, however, is real. You're never going to see him and you're never going to get back any money that you send.
I know that you'd rather believe him and not me, but the odds of this being a real situation are zero. For one thing, it's not how criminal cases work.
If you have photos of your "friend" and any other so called documents that you can upload them with your reply I can give you a less general answer, but I'd urge you not to pay that fine because you will never see that money again. YOu won't see him either, since he's a complete fabrication -- just a bunch of scammers hiding out in cyberspace behind false identifying details.
I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

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