The headline read: Internet Lothario charged with grand larceny for swindling women out of $140,000
For the past seven years, Greenburgh resident Solomon Jesus Nasser has romanced women on various Internet dating sites. Spinning a tale of intrigue and wealth, he was able to sweet talk a number of women into giving him computers, expensive watches, and cash. He’s facing a minimum of five to fifteen years in prison. As his mug shot flashed on the newscast last week, I realized: hey, I know this guy.
About a year ago, on a lark and the lure of three months for the price of one, I signed up on Chemistry.com, which claims to offer a scientific approach to matchmaking. I slogged through the questionnaire, wrote the required essay, clicked the magic button. And presto: I had seven matches who the company promised would provide me with many “jolly times and hearty laughs.”
“Nancy,” the message gushed, “see who’s interested in you!”
Sad to say, the interest wasn’t mutual. Opening lines from the profiles of my initial “matches” included:
• You would need to be tolerant of my addiction to stock car races Saturday nights from April to September.
• I’m just looking for a no strings attached friend-with-benefits situation. I like it wild so if it’s what you want bring it on. I like big-chested girls but it’s not a deal breaker.
• I am a KING in search of his QUEEN. The ONE who respects ME. Loves ME. Needs ME. Wants ME. Adores ME.
• I’m a Bi-Polar Manic Depressive. I fluctuate from wildly productive and overly imaginative to sadly depressed and near suicidal. A match for me MUST ACCEPT THIS HARDLY NOTICEABLE DISABILITY.
Understandably, when I read the profile for “Flyboy,” grammatically correct with no obvious red flags, I was curious. I had worked in the aerospace industry for a while, so figured we had at least one thing in common. We exchanged ”relationship essentials,” the first step. They matched and we moved on to emailing through the site. I asked why he didn’t post a photo of himself. Was he shy? “Oh, I have so many people working for me at Sikorsky, that I wouldn’t want them to see my picture if they were on the site,” he told me. We chatted on the phone—he was a little quirky, but some might say the same about me– and finally decided to meet for coffee.
As I walked to the restaurant, a short, stout man in sunglasses jumped down from his truck. “Nancy?” I was momentarily confused as he looked nothing like the picture he sent. But hey, I’m an open-minded gal–in for a penny, in for a pound.
After small talk about the Stealth Bomber and doomed F-21 (he did know his aircraft, I have to give him that), he launched in on his C.V. Born in Spain, where he was pals with the prince. Or the princess, or some random royal. His father, also a pilot, first let him land a plane when he was just seven years old. (Hmmm. Would he have even been able to see over the control panel?) He went on about how he graduated from MIT, with a doctorate no less, at age 22; how he held more than 80 patents. How he was so important to the entire aerospace industry, that when he was once stranded without a way to get from point A to point B, he was allowed to take a commercial aircraft to fly alone (or was the supermodel with him that time?).
At that point, I ordered a glass of wine.
Then he started telling me about his forty-acre back county Greenwich estate, Gulf Stream jet, and 10 cars, including three Hummers (two given to him by GM in thanks for his service). He loved those Hummers so much he would bring at least one with him—in his helicopter– on his many missions troubleshooting for the Department of Defense. Instead of being impressed, I’m thinking: Not only does this guy have an indefensible carbon footprint, but what guy this rich would want to divulge his virtual portfolio to a virtual stranger?
After a second glass of wine, I asked: “So, if I Googled you, would all this be corroborated?” He reared back and looked at me with a mixture of annoyance and disappointment that I had not been paying better attention to how massively vital he was to our country’s defense. “Everything I do is so classified that Google can’t touch me—the DOD sees to that.”
I thanked him for the drinks, said goodnight, and that was that. Until that newscast, followed by the next day’s Journal News front page story: D.A.: Hot date is cold cheat. Seems the only thing he didn’t lie about was his age, 57. Turns out, this “multimillionaire” is broke, unemployed, and living off funds he swindled from other women. (Now I feel bad about “his” paying for those two glasses of wine). He’s never been in the military, worked for the DOD (or President Bush, the CIA, or any of his other cockamamie covers).
What wasn’t clear was why “established professional women” would have fallen for his malarkey. Some of his victims have friended each other on Facebook, commiserating. “We all fell in love with him,” one victim told the Journal News. “The reason everybody believed in him was that he was totally believeable.”
Really? Even after dating a guy for years and never seeing where he lived? Or after taking a date to “his” Greenwich mansion, not going in because the caretaker was away and he had the only set of keys? Love, as they say, can be willfully blind.
But back to Chemistry.com’s scientific approach to matching up compatible souls. It’s more like a chemistry experiment gone terribly, terribly wrong. Although I finally am getting the “hearty laughs” promised all those months ago, it’s not quite the way I expected.