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Filipina DH loses $113k in love scam with Philippine ties

14 September 2022

By Daisy CL Mandap


Lily says this was the photo used by the man who wooed, then fleeced her of nearly $113,000

A Filipina domestic worker has been having a lot of sleepless nights ever since she realized the lover she met online less than two months ago left her empty-handed, and buried deep in debt.

Lily (not her real name), 32, was blocked online and on WhatsApp by the man she met on a dating site on July 22 this year, after he had squeezed a total of $112,801.87 (more than Php800,000) from her in less than a month.

The bulk of the money – or $54,000 – came from a loan that her sister had taken out at her request, saying she needed it to buy a house. Another $35,000 was from proceeds of a loan she took out in her name, and the rest came from her life savings.


What angers her more now, on hindsight, is that the scam could have been pulled off by her fellow Filipinos, as the recipients of the money that the man who introduced himself to her as “David Morgan” were all based in the Philippines.

About half of the money went to four Filipinos through bank accounts they held at BPI and Banco de Oro branches in Laguna and La Union, or through a Gcash account. Another half, or $58,000 were sent through bitcoin machines to accounts given her by Morgan.

All the money were sent by Lily herself, or by her sister and a friend at her request, either daily or at one-day interval, between Aug 18 and Sept 1 this year. Lily stopped only when she had exhausted all means at her disposal to keep Morgan happy.


Lily is still desperately hoping to get all, or at least some of her money back, but the prospects are not good. Police officers who took her statement on Sept 6 were sympathetic, but said they could not do much about her case as the suspects were all overseas.

Consul Paul Saret, who heads the assistance to nationals section of the Consulate, has also interviewed Lily. He said he has reported the case to the Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila for endorsement to the National Bureau of Investigation and other law enforcement agencies in the country.

As the recipients appeared to be Filipinos who presumably used their real names in opening bank and cash accounts in the Philippines, the investigation could hopefully lead to actual arrests.


Still, Consul Saret could not help express what everybody privy to the case had said- that it was “surprising” that Lily did not think twice about sending so much money to people she did not know.

Sana sa family na lang niya napunta,” (She should have just sent it to her family) is the common sentiment. 

But when love bites, not everyone is able to think straight, as shown by the thousands of people, mostly women, who regularly fall prey to these scams in Hong Kong.

Screen grab of the chat between Lily and 'David' after she sent him money through bitcoin

In a statement she gave to police, Lily, who arrived in Hong Kong in 2019, said she met Morgan at a dating site called “Dating.” The man, whose online photo showed him to be clean-cut and good-looking, introduced himself as an American engineer who also worked as a fitness coach. He also said his work required him to travel extensively.

After chatting online, the two started communicating through Whatsapp, with Morgan using a US phone number with a Washington state area code.

“We kept using Whatsapp to chat about our daily lives,” said Lily, who finished high school in the Philippines. By the end of the month, she said they had become lovers.


In an interview, Lily initially said she had seen Morgan on video, but when asked to provide more details of that chat, admitted that the man did sound strange as his accent was more African than American.

She also began to wonder if what she had seen on video was real, after being told that scammers often speak over short clips of a man speaking in the dark so it would look like he was actually conversing with the person on the other line.

Lily also said she had heard vaguely of stories about love scams, but did not think it would happen to her.

About a fortnight after they began chatting, Morgan laid his bait. He said he was in a bind because he had been locked out of his account with “Alley Trust Bank” in the United States. To complete the story, he sent Lily a screenshot of his supposed bank account showing he had an account balance of more than US$2 million.

Looking back, Lily said she did notice on checking with google that there was just an Ally Bank in the US, and it did not have the extra “e” that Morgan had kept mentioning to her in his appeal for funds.

At about 9am on Aug 14, Morgan made his move. He told Lily he badly needed $5,999.95 to buy materials for his work but his bank account was still frozen.

As she could not leave her employer’s house on short notice, Lily asked her sister to send the money and in just over an hour, Morgan’s plea was heeded.

Strangely, the account he provided was in the name of M.A.F. at BDO in Manila, but Lily did not think much about this then.

The Filipina’s obvious willingness to do his bidding spurred the scammer to tighten the noose. On Aug 17 he asked for $10,000 saying he needed to buy a ticket to Beijing, and Lily again complied, with help from her sister. This time, the recipient was one J.T. with a BPI account in Laguna Technopark.

'Morgan' sent this screenshot of his supposedly frozen bank account in the U.S.

Two days later, he asked for $1,500 for his “daily expenses,” and again, Lily got her sister, who was made to believe that the remittances were for the purchase of a house, to comply with the request. The named recipient was J.T. again.

On Aug 20, Morgan said he needed an additional $7,000 for his living expenses, and Lily’s sister did this bidding again, with J.T.'s BPI account in Binan, Laguna, as the recipient.

The next day, Morgan said he needed more money, this time, to pay for his Covid-19 test before going back to the US. It took her two days to raise the money, but Lily did manage to eventually send $9,832.55 to the account designated by Morgan in the name of M.A.F. with BDO.

On Aug 25, Morgan said he had run out of cash for his living expenses, and asked for $3,000 to be sent through the Gcash account of one B.E.J. As Lily had no Gcash account, she asked a friend to send the money on the same day.

Now on a roll, Morgan made the biggest request for cash on Aug. 28, saying he needed $48,000 immediately to pay the salaries of his staff, or he could be arrested. As that was a Sunday, her day off, Lily managed to raise the money immediately, and sent it all to a bitcoin account given by Morgan, using a machine in Central.

In just over two hours, Morgan felt the need to squeeze for more cash, saying he needed an additional $7,000 as what he received was not enough for his payroll. Lily’s sister, at her behest, sent an additional $4,999.97 to a new recipient, J.H. with a BPI account in San Fernando, La Union.

Spurred by Morgan’s persistent clamor, Lily made her sister send an additional $2,000 to the same account early the next day.

Obviously anxious to squeeze his cash cow dry, Morgan sent another appeal for cash on Aug 31, saying this time that he needed to pay for his hotel in Beijing. He asked that the transfer be made through a bitcoin machine again.

Early the next day, Sept 1, Lily dutifully transferred the requested amount through a bitcoin machine near her employer’s house in Tsuen Wan. As she was in a hurry to return to her work, she forgot to take a screenshot of the machine as she had previously done.

Still not content, Morgan sent out an urgent appeal for more money, saying he had been arrested by the police in Beijing. But Lily was unable to do his bidding this time, not because she had come to her senses, but because she had run out of ways to satisfy his insatiable greed.

This was when she decided to confide to a friend, who lost no time in making her see the folly of sending money she did not even have, to someone she did not even know.

Amid the pain, regret and immense stress that she is facing, Lily is hopeful that her fellow Filipinos who took part in the scam could be made to give back what they had taken from her.

Baka umulit pa sila, maraming magiging biktima. Baka mas malaki pa ang makuha nila,” she said. (They might do it again and victimize more people. They might even squeeze more money from them).

She also agreed to share her story so fellow OFWs would learn from her mistake.

Baka may magpakamatay pa dahil sa depression dito sa ginagawa nila.”
(Someone might even take her own life due to depression over what these scammers are doing).

For now, all that Lily could do is pray hard that she would have the strength to keep working so she could pay back the big loans she mindlessly took out to satisfy the man she thought would be her passport to a comfortable life.
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