Lovefraud.com has posted a new case study: Pilot romances his co-worker, gets her to buy him a plane. Yes, it’s true. Lance Larabee, who lives near Seattle, Washington, convinced Debbie White, who lives near Chicago, Illinois, to go into business with him. He had the idea; she had the money—her recent divorce settlement. All he needed was a plane, a boat, a conversion van and money to clear up some debts.
The business never got off the ground. Five and a half years later, White learned that she had essentially bought Larabee toys—big, expensive toys that he apparently used to impress other women. Her money was gone, and she had nothing to show for it.
In fact, she was more than $100,000 in debt.
Protecting her interests
The scary thing about this story is that Debbie White took steps to protect her financial interests. The business was properly incorporated by a lawyer. She filed federal tax forms. Concerned about personal liability in case of a plane accident, White removed herself as an owner of the aircraft, and limited her position to a secured interest.
Larabee put his commitments in writing. He signed three promissory notes, drawn up by lawyers and notarized. He signed two of them after it was clear that there would be no business. He promised to pay White back, with interest.
None of it mattered.
When White finally realized what was going on, she took Larabee to court. She won a judgment against him for nearly $233,000. But it was almost useless. He had no assets that she could attach. White is garnishing the guy’s wages, but it is going to take a very long time for her to break even.
Sociopaths don’t pay
I also won in court. I proved that my ex-husband, James Montgomery, defrauded me. The judge awarded me everything that he had taken—$227,000—plus $1 million in punitive damages. I collected a grand total of $517.
Many sociopaths live in a pyramid scheme, robbing one person to pay the next. Or, they don’t bother to pay anyone, no matter how many promissory notes they sign. Even when they have assets—think O.J. Simpson—they do everything possible to avoid paying any judgments.
In a way, it makes me long for the good old days of debtors’ prisons. But that wouldn’t work either. The sociopaths would talk their way out of trouble, and the poor men and women who got fleeced would end up in jail.
The sociopaths, meanwhile, would just move on to their next victims.
On the record
Unlike most people who get conned, Debbie White did not go quietly. She was brave enough to tell her story, on the record. I believe this is a very important. People all over the country, and the world, are being swindled in sweetheart scams all the time. But because most are too embarrassed to talk about it, everyone else doesn’t know the magnitude of the problem.
Millions of sociopaths are out there, sweet-talking victims into next scam. Not knowing it costs a lot of people a lot of money.