Michael's story was that he was a Frenchman, who lived in Auckland (he had an Auckland phone number) who had to travel to South Africa for work.He never consented to a video chat or meeting, but sent photos of a clean-cut, middle-aged man, in one pictured on a Harley Davidson motorcycle, in another paddling a canoe.Weeks later he was promised marriage "and to buy a house with a swimming pool". He was not able to bank his pay; he had to pawn his watch; he had malaria; he needed money to break his work contract or he would be away for a year. She was convinced to send him money, not through her bank, but through Money Gram, a payment service, which cannot be easily traced.Just as he was meant to be leaving, an enormous bunch of roses, with a hand-written card, arrived at Kabak's home."My world makes lots of sense to me only cause of you, am sorry I would be away but know am coming back and our future has already began," the note read.An email urged her to consider the relationship formal."I just want to look into those eyes and ask you where have you been all this years?Sally Kabak was sent photos she believed were of Michael Aiden Paige, who promised her marriage.In fact the photos were of Melvin Staaf, a Canadian business owner, who says the photos were lifted from his own online profiles. He was just so, so convincing, and so genuine in his feelings, I thought," she said, although she now knows there were warning signs."Some things didn't sound right [but] my heart was ruling my head [telling me] 'this is fine, don't be silly'."About two years after her husband, Norm, died, Kabak began internet dating. They began having lengthy phone conversations and sharing intimate emails." He wrote on June 1, after asking Kabak if she would "make this official, lets (sic) go out".
'I love you, I want to marry you.' He just knew all the things to say.
He totally had me hooked into his scheme." Kabak who has long been an internet user, was drawn into an internet romance scam.
Although she did not want to add up the piles of money orders because she "doesn't want to know" the documents show she made 20 payments ranging between 0 and almost ,000 between August 2015 and February.
She has now complained to police, in a bid to recover at least some of the money, and is speaking out in the hope she can help others.
Even after being conned out of around 0,000, and although she knows he doesn't exist, Sally Kabak admits she still misses "Michael"."I miss his voice, I miss his laughter," the 67-year-old teacher's aide, from Wellington, said, a fortnight after the man who had promised to marry her and help raise her granddaughter, broke contact."He's not real, but at the time he was very, very real.Twice, three times a day, we would have these long conversations.