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Swedish Woman Falls In Love With Nigerian Scammer’s Persona, Befriends Him, Puts Him Through College.

A few years after her divorce, Maria Grette, 62, from Sweden, created a profile on an online dating website where she met a 58-year-old Danish man who seemed like the perfect match. After exchanging messages back and forth, the Dane called her from a UK number, confirming his story as an expat businessman.

“I wanted to meet him because I liked him,” Maria told BBC. “He had a way and a sweetness I had never known in a man before. And he was innocent in a way that puzzled me.” After three months of communicating, the budding couple decided to meet… but that was when things started to get strange.

Before visiting her in Sweden, the Dane told Maria that he and his son had to make a business trip to Nigeria for a job interview. The next phone call was to tell her that he was in a Lagos hospital. He told her they had been mugged, his son shot, and they were without money and papers. His bank did not have a branch in Africa and requested €1000 to proceed with treatment for his son.


“I will never forget how I rushed to the Western Union office, trembling while I did the transfer,” Ms Grette said.

The calls requesting more money kept coming. Maria finally realized that her new romantic interest was not what he seemed, and stopped replying to his messages.

Three weeks after her silence, he called her and confessed. He told her that he was not who she thought he was.


“I said I already knew that. I asked him to tell me his true identity and he did.” He was a 24-year-old Nigerian “419” scammer. He had finished university two years earlier but had no job. He further described himself as a “devil” who had wronged “a lovely woman”.

From this point on, there were no more requests for cash. Maria decided that she needed to meet the young man, so she hopped on a plane to Nigeria and saw his true face for the first time.

“When I saw him at the airport in Abuja, tears fell over his face, and I knew I had known him all my life.”

Maria spent two weeks in Nigeria getting to know “Johnny.” She met his friends, many of whom were also scammers. One evening in a local bar, she began to wonder how she could make a difference.


So Maria started a non profit organization to help these young men and women find financial success without falling into the scamming trap. Over the past six years, Maria, who works as an art teacher and arts therapist, has arranged for a number of African artists to visit Europe for art exhibitions, workshops, conferences and competitions. She has assisted them to source international grants and other funding to advance their work.


With her help, Johnny left Nigeria to study in America. She continued to provide him with financial assistance until he completed his degree and got a job in the oil and gas sector.

The duo still communicate frequently and update one another on life. Last year, Johnny bought one of Maria’s oil paintings and had it shipped to him in America.

When BBC asked Maria how she felt about the situation now that it has blossomed so beautifully, she said, “”He is very dear to me. He has asked me so many times to forgive him and I told him that the most important thing is to forgive himself.”

What a beautiful ending to a potentially disastrous journey. Even when we’re wronged, it would seem that turning the other cheek might just be the way to go. Maria’s gracious attitude  helped dozens of young men and women chase their dreams instead of stealing from others.

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