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20 - A friend indeed

Journey 19

Let me introduce you to my friend - Jim.
It was his suggestion that I revisit the Philippines - for a second opinion, convinced that the beautiful picture of romance that I had been painting for him would start to show a few cracks.
Jim has first hand experience - previous encounters with racketeers - the Mafia.
Perhaps not on such a global scale as the Mafia - in downtown Manila - but we are essentially dealing with the same sort of underworld. A cocktail of prostitution, money laundering and extortion.

We examined the whole of my journey so far with a forensic eye for detail - and it is clear that not only have we discovered and fulfilled the criteria for guilt in Civil Law - "In the balance of probability" - but also those for Criminal Law "Beyond reasonable doubt."

Unwittingly - in complete ignorance - I have stumbled into a nest of vipers.
It would seem to us that we have the boss man - Sir Francis - with his teams of girls, trawling the internet from dating sites - luring folk into parting with their money on all sorts of false pretences.

The only reason this is so successful is because the men have been duped, fooled into thinking that there was a genuine relationship happening - and are therefore highly emotionally involved - feeling great responsibility to the girls of their dreams.

Starting out with requests for small amounts - to prime the pump, as it were - and test the willingness of their victim - gradually escalating to larger and larger sums - who knows where it could end - how much it could net for these fraudsters - all neatly tied in to a real estate business.
Indeed - in my plans with Mayen we had discussed the purchasing of property - I had been shown condominiums, either already built or "off plan." I know that some, if not all of these, were directly connected to her business.

Considering that the law prohibits foreigners owning land, the alliance between a real estate business and dating sites seems like a marriage made in heaven.
Who knows what devious ways they would have found to rid me of more and more money - real estate purchasing in the Philippines is a mine-field of potential hazards for the unwary even with a legitimate business. Now we have uncovered the possible association between Tierra Maria (certainly the Marketing Manager) and racketeering - the credentials of this particular company are not looking enticing at all.

I had met up again with Sir Francis in Hounslow UK in July, at a Barrio Fiesta - thinking at the time that Mayen was pregnant - anticipating my next visit to see her. He was there representing Tierra Maria Estates. I discovered him sitting inside a tent with various other real estate companies from the Philippines. I had set up a web site at Sir Francis's invitation - to expand the marketing exposure into the UK - and went along to pick up the latest specifications and prices.
It is so hard for me to believe that this man, who I had a lot of respect for, was pulling such a big confidence trick on me.

Click here for the psychology of scammers.

Click here for behaviour analysis.

Jim and I talk well into the night - and I end up by handing him my passport and traveller's cheques - to prevent myself from going. I know that the pendulum will swing back to the love I have for Mayen - but I am scared. After all - they know my flight details - they are expecting me to arrive in Manila carrying a wad of cash - I don't know who would have met me at the airport - where I might have been taken - Mayen probably nowhere to be found - me with a private debt to Sir Francis, who no doubt would try to prevent me from verifying anything with the hospital - or if I did, I would just be following a paper trail of falsehood.

I decide to remain here in the UK - still confused - all we have is circumstantial - scam or genuine? How can we find proof positive? Will I be tortured by doubt for the rest of my days? I truly love Mayen - if I have deserted her in her hour of need - I shall live haunted with regrets. A love as beautiful as this has been - surely will not visit me again?

Now the big question for me is - who is the real Mayen? What sort of personality has she really?
I am certain now that with me, Mayen was plotting, working towards this final scam, as far back perhaps as day one.

On her own - with her friends - I'm sure she is as charming as I found her to be.
I saw her in her work environment - amongst her co-conspirators.
I saw her in her home environment, where she showed me off as a trophy - and her family seemed happy at every opportunity for me to be the provider.
Judging from the attitude of the family towards me, there is no excuse here that Mayen had been seduced into this lifestyle under duress - far from it - her association with Sir Francis seemed to lend her an inflated sense of status - work that she undertook with relish, completely ignoring any consequences to me.

I quote from The Lonely Planet.

"Filipino families protect their own, the public good be damned. This explains many things that observers often cite as "wrong" with the country; it explains why rich, powerful clans are content to build huge fortunes while turning a blind eye to shocking poverty . . . and it explains why the best qualified are passed over in favour of the well connected when applying for jobs."

Does it explain lies or extortion? What can I believe about Mayen?

I heard stories from her tragic past - her struggle to be honourable to her family - how did she end up in this situation - part of this set up?
How can people become so impoverished, financially - emotionally - ethically - that this is even seen as an option by a young, bright, zestful and attractive girl?
For she is all that - but those things are immediate - on the surface - what is going on at a deeper level - in her heart?
Is love a luxury she simply cannot afford herself to indulge in?

In a very true sense - she was selling her body, her emotions - condemming them both to become merely tools of her trade - no longer essential parts of her personal liberty - but plain prostitution has more honour than extortion by these means.
To carry out such a scam as this with her obvious relish and enthusiasm - reveals sociopathic behaviour - in the full knowledge of how devastating the results can be - financially - and the cruel price that is paid emotionally.
The level of conscious, manipulative deception is something that really shocks me - and I was deceived - truly - by the sweetest, tastiest honey.

Click the flags to read about all the alarm bells.

Tim Cumperhttp://www.bebo.com/Ellumbra

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