"If she hasn't done it before, then she has talked to people who have done it." It is unclear if Bustos has hired an attorney, and her family members could not be reached for comment.- - - Using the lure of Internet love to get money from unsuspecting people is a scam as old as the Web itself.He'd picked her up and they went bowling in Winter Haven, Fla., at Cypress Lanes, which offers shoe and lane rentals for a quarter on Thursday nights, and specials on pizza and beer.A few hours later, the pair ended up at his place, where they talked a bit more and met up with his roommate. Bustos sent the single father a text afterward: She'd had a good time, she wrote to Hilarie, and wanted to meet up the following night at his place.There was no reason for Adam Hilarie to believe anything but the obvious: He had just been on a promising first date with a pretty girl.
Bustos, 18, brought three men with her to Hilarie's place, including two career criminals on probation for violent felonies. When Hilarie, 27, responded to the knock on the door, the men overpowered him and dashed inside, police said. "Hilarie was begging for his life, he was not putting up any kind of fight, and was telling them that he had a 5-year-old daughter," according to arrest reports obtained by the Orlando Sentinel.And it's so much easier for someone to do that online." It's unclear how many people across the United States have been caught up in so-called romance schemes, although the FBI and the FTC have both issued warnings against them."Millions of Americans visit online dating websites every year hoping to find a companion or even a soulmate," the FBI said just before Valentine's Day, adding that "the FBI wants to warn you that criminals use these sites, too, looking to turn the lonely and vulnerable into fast money through a variety of scams." Most victims walk away with lightened pockets and broken hearts."As of now, investigators believe there have been 6 such incidents in the past 5 weeks. "To avoid becoming a victim of these crimes, we urge members of the public to arrange meetings with online vendors in public places, such as local police departments," John Horn, the assistant U. attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, said following the sentencing hearing of a Craigslist robber.On the website's personal safety page, Craigslist emphasizes that a tiny fraction of transactions conducted through the site end in crime.
"I see girls on there that their occupation is getting money.