How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Zoey, JD Your Own Question
Zoey, JD
Zoey, JD, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 27757
Experience:  Active member of the NYS bar since 1989
18321761
Type Your Legal Question Here...
Zoey, JD is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

My husband was stopped at the UK because he did not have a

Customer Question

My husband was stopped at the UK because he did not have a certificate of ownership now he is at customs held in a cell. Please help
JA: What state are you in? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: I am sorry I forgot to mention it is gold. I am in West Virginia
JA: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: not on my part
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: no
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Zoey, JD replied 4 months ago.

Hi,

I'm Zoey.

I'm reviewing your post. Please be patient as I may need to research for you, and it also takes time to compose and type a reply.

Expert:  Zoey, JD replied 4 months ago.

I apologize for being presumptious, but people who ask a question like this are almost always the target of an internet romance scam.

Were you actually married to your husband in a face-to-face traditional ceremony, or is he just someone you have met over the internet whom you believe you're some day going to marry?

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
How did you know that? I did meet him online. We are to be married soon.
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
I don't have that much right now, sorry
Expert:  Zoey, JD replied 4 months ago.

No problem. We can continue on this question thread at no additional cost. I'm typing you an answer now.

Expert:  Zoey, JD replied 4 months ago.

I knew this because every day other legal experts and I answer questions with this same fact pattern, and because as a lawyer I know what is likely to happen at borders and what will not.

You are, unfortunately, a victim of an internet romance scam. Your fiance is actually a group of thieves hiding behind a picture of someone else and a profile, sitting at an internet cafe to hide his computer IP address and looking to steal money from you and others.

The scam is called "The Stranded Traveler." There are variations, but scams are pretty much scripted, so I'm sure you'll recognize elements of this when I tell you the pattern:

You meet a guy on a social networking or dating site and he falls in love with you at first sight.

He talks love, marriage, future and forever, before you can even meet in person.

He seems to be everything you always wanted in a man, and you can't believe your luck.

Typically, though not always, he claims to be a widower with a son or a daughter. Usually, he claims to have his own business. Most frequently he claims his job involves international traveling. Sometimes he claims he has a relative abroad and is waiting to collect an inheritance.

And lo and behold, before he can finally meet you, he tells you he must go abroad for work purposes or to help expedite his legacy, and he ends up typically in some country that's neither his nor yours.

Once there, Mr Perfect suddenly will turn into Mr. Needy, the world's unluckiest guy. He has the first of a series of emergencies for which only your money will do. The excuses are all lies, designed only to part you with your money. You can see a list of some of the tried and true excuses here, and you will find the arrest at customs among them:

http://romancescams.org/TypesOfScams.html

This scam can come complete with phony documents, phony customs workers, phony lawyers and more. Romance scammers are adept at photoshopping and they create a lot of forged documents.

But no matter what you do, the emergencies keep on coming, and he never gets an inch closer to the plane to States.

Any time an online romance asks you for money before he can even meets you, he's a fraud. There's just no exception to that.

I know that this is not good news for you, and that you'd rather believe him than me. You'd be making a mistake however. So, feel free to upload photos of him or documents that he has sent you to this question thread and I'll be happy to look them over.

Once you're convinced that you are the target of a fraud, you need to report this to the FBI online at www.IC3.gov, which is their Internet Crime Complaint Center. There, the FBI is partnered with Interpol, who can distribute the information you give them to law enforcement agencies all over the world. All the same, nothing is likely to happen.

Expert:  Zoey, JD replied 4 months ago.

Just checking in to see if you need more help or any clarification of my answer. If so, please reply here on this question thread.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
OMG, I believe you. I have been giving him money for 2 years now. He says he is in the UK customs and if we don't pay $15,280.00 they will send him back to Africa and they will send the FBI after me and I will be arrested if I do not pay this amount. He tells me he has 8.5 million dollars in gold but the UK customs will not let him leave until we get these documents of ownership for the gold. I don't have that much money. I already took out my life insurance to pay for his passport and visa and a plane ticket to the US. $500.00 for his passport, $500.00 for his visa, and $1300.00 for his plane ticket. He got to the UK from Africa and he was arrested for not having proof of ownership for the gold. All of a sudden I am going to be on the FBI list. Can they send the FBI after me? This isn't even my gold but now I am responsible for him. Please advise? Thank you, ***** *****
Expert:  Zoey, JD replied 4 months ago.

THERE IS NO GOLD!!! THERE IS NO UK CUSTOMS OFFICIAL. This is all a scam designed to fleece you of $15,000 dollars.

No you can't be arrested. You are guilty of nothing more than bad judgment in your relationship choices. The FBI has no jurisdiction over crimes committed in foreign countries. Even if this parcel were stopped by Customs, you didn't send it.

If there were really all that much undocumented gold in in bags -- hundreds of pounds in weight, incidentally, so it's quite preposterous to believe he could have carried it into the airport at all -- he would have been arrested for smuggling when trying to get out of Africa in the first place and would never have reached the UK to begin with.

Assuming -- and I don't -- that he really got to the UK and had a stopover there, his luggage would have been in Cargo and not goine through Customs again. But assuming again that it had, he would have been arrested, the gold confiscated as contraband and deportation would have been initiated. You would not have been contacted by Customs at all and you would have no opportunity to bail him out and/or free the gold.

The whole scenario is nothing but hogwash. Report thiem to the FBI at www.IC3.gov and to your police. They're not likely to find your scammer since nothing he has told you about himself is really true, but in that way, as the victim of a crime, you can at least deduct your unreimbursed losses from this scam when you file your taxes for 2017 and in that way, at least recoup something in the form of a deduction from this terrible fraud.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Zoey, I am just an old fool. A stupid old fool. And if you want to hear something else stupid, I am in college working on my doctoral degree in business administration focusing on human resource. I have done without just so I could send him money because he was hungry, kicked out of his apartment, lost his clothes and passport. How could I be so educated and so stupid at the same time. I am a lonely widow and he sounded so sincere. Stupid, stupid, stupid!! I knew he was a crook but I denied it all of this time. My sister told me he was not real but I would not listen. She does not know that I have been sending him money for 2 years and I am not going to tell her. You must be laughing your butt off at an old stupid fool like me. Thank you, Veloris
Expert:  Zoey, JD replied 4 months ago.
No. I'll not laughing at you, and you need to stop beating up on yourself. These scammers aren't very good at what they do. The FBI reports that Americans lose 50 million dollars annually to romance scams. Many victims are highly educated professionals. Victims are distributed among all classes and backgrounds. so don't punish yourself. Just acquaint yourself with the telltale signs of romance scams so that you won't be taken twice. Best of of luck going forward
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Thank you Zoey, God bless you.
Expert:  Zoey, JD replied 4 months ago.

You're welcome and may He bless you as well.

I strive for 5-star service. If I have addressed all of your concerns, please take the time to rate my service to you by selecting 3, 4, or (hopefully) 5 stars on the rating scale, as that is the only way that JustAnswer gives us Experts credit for our work. You would still be able to post further follow ups on this question thread about this for no additional cost, even after I've been rated.