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Why I wrote ‘The One That Got Away’

One that got away_cropBy Brigitte Knowles

It was 2011, a good year. I made $235,000.00 in my business that year and was at the top of my game. I went out for drinks with a girlfriend in Delray Beach, Florida. My life was only about work and I did not realize that I was out of balance. I had not gone out to a club for years and at 55, I was not a frequent dater, celibate for 5 years. I was ripe for the picking.

I did not know that there were Financial Predators in this world. I was targeted by an Italian man who professed true love and wanted to do real estate business with me. He asked for down payments to buy distressed housing in West Palm Beach. We visited several with two real estate agents, mine and his. What could go wrong?

He then proceeded to ask for deposits of $5,000.00 that he would attach to offers to purchase and did so several times. I was either going to own several good Reno’s or none and get my deposits back. With injections of $10,000.00 per house, we were going to sell for profits of $ 25,000.00 each which we would split. Do the math. I was an inactive real estate agent as well as a financial representative for 20 years. How could this fail?

Pressured to marry

Very soon into the relationship, I was pressured into marrying him. I was promised a big extended family that was loving and a husband that would adore me and together we would have the home on the beach with a dog and a garden and my claw foot bath in a ceiling to floor mirrored and glass window with my walk in closets and a king size bed in which we would make passionate love every day.

In between the loving words, there came threats and innuendos about my safety and demands to insure my life for a million dollars.

For five months I flew back and forth to spend weekends in his arms and work with him at his dry cleaning store while managing the demands of trying to enter the real estate circus that was Florida at that time. I was sleep deprived when I married him. It was a classy wedding in a private club in Las Vegas. I thought I was the happiest bride in the world but I did not know who I married.

WitSec

He was WitSec or Witness Security and had immunity, a fact that the U.S. Marshalls would deny forever and a day. I was stuck in a marriage in which gaslighting, infidelity, verbal and mental abuse surrounded physical threats of harm in so many different ways I could write a book.

The day I found out that he had never filed an income tax return in his life, my attorney commanded me to leave. I planned my escape, photocopying everything I could that would support an annulment. I found proof that he was a serial Financial Predator who conducted Love Scams online, by phone and in person when he picked up and delivered dry cleaning to his mostly female clientele. These women were also clients with whom he performed sexual acts to obtain loans and work on their homes.

I found proof that he had been a gigolo and had owned an escort service for which he had been arrested for soliciting a female cop. As well he had been found guilty of RICO violations, money laundering, drug trafficking and assault with a dangerous weapon with intent to kill. The background check that I had paid for showed only traffic violations. It would have helped to know his WitSec name under which he conducted himself like the kind of man you name hurricanes after.

When I finally had to leave him, an angel gave me the push. I caught him having disgusting sex with his manager in August 2011 and I had to leave.

No annulment unless one of us was dead

The nightmare compounded. When I told him that I was annulling the marriage, he told me that there would be no annulment unless one of us was dead. I did die inside when I heard those words and thought of the many women who did not survive the end of a marriage. Mine had lasted 17 days until the request to file and for the next two months I had gathered all the proof I could find and the annulment did come through in 2012.

For months I spent my time on a blog that helped women who loved psychopaths. I understood that I had fallen in love with an idealized image that my predator portrayed to me. In reality, he was a professional criminal with an enterprise by which he seduced women online, in clubs, at church and at work and borrowed millions of tax free dollars that he never paid back.

I wanted to die many times. I had a good therapist who guided me through the bottomless pit of sorrow that I felt. I was still in love with someone who had never existed. I could not mourn, there was no closure and nothing could make me stop loving the man I thought I married.

A book was born

I started to type into the blog and copy pasted the posts into my computer and then suddenly a book was born. I named it The One That Got Away. I had to use a pen name, Brigitte Knowles, to protect my identity.

I spent the next three years fighting with the FBI, the U.S. Marshall Office, The Justice Department and the Sheriff’s Office in Florida, trying to explain what Romeo Fraud was. They told me I was a woman who consented to loan money to a man I married. They did nothing but give me a Domestic Violence Restraining Order which worked in two ways. One, I could not be contacted by him in any way, but two; I could not contact him either.

That was the way I managed to leave him in a cold turkey three year battle to live without the hope of ever trusting any man again. I finished the book and it sat there for a year while I sat there owing thousands of dollars of tax and penalties and compounding interest to the government for money I never got back. Sixty two thousand dollars became one hundred and eighty. Again I wanted to kill myself every day. However I had a daughter and two dogs that loved me and I could not hurt those people who believed in me.

Fighting my way back

Thanks to the Domestic Violence services in Delray Beach Court House, I found the will and the way to fight, to kick and bite my way back to life. Every time he called, I fought not to see him. Every time he cried, I fought not to feel sympathy and love for him. I knew he was not the person I fell in love with and that the person I fell in love with and married did not exist. I had severe PTSD but I kept going to work and locking myself in my office for four years.

Finally I met a good man who was really who he said he was. He helped edit my book and gave me the courage to put my book on the market. He was counter intelligence in Afghanistan and going through a difficult divorce and we soothed each other for as long as the angels allowed. Some people come in and out of your life to help you reach another level. I will always be grateful to him for being there when no one else could reach inside of my heart to wake me.

Now the book is on the market. The publisher censored the sex. I laughed but agreed. It was the sex however that had trapped me. When we get older and our children leave and we are not in a fulfilling relationship with a man, we are vulnerable to Financial Predators whether online or in person.

It could happen to any woman

I hope this book shows you that if this could happen to me, it could happen to any woman. I hope that it helps you and every woman out there who lived through a similar crime understands that there should be no guilt or shame. We love and we learn. Some lessons cost more than others. In reality mine was really just the price of a mink and a Hermes bag, or so said my therapist.

It made it easier for me to understand that I was still alive, still working and still able to face reality with a positive heart. I don’t ask for more from myself. I live one day at a time. I eat an elephant one bite at a time. No one else can do better than I can, surviving what I once thought I would not live through. When I was told it would take three years to see the shores of normal again, I said I can’t do it. But I did and so will you.

Read my book to the end. Write your story. I will read it. To all of the women who have suffered this despicable crime, to those before me and after me, believe that there is a door that opens when one closes. It may take time but there is a port into which you will sail after the storm. Be the captain of your destiny and stay true to what you really believe in. I believe in love. I believe that one day I will love again. I don’t know when but I will never stop believing.

The One That Got Away, by Brigitte Knowles, is available on Amazon.com.



8 Comments on "Why I wrote ‘The One That Got Away’"

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  1. Brigitte – Your story sounds like an absolute nightmare. Thank you for being willing to share it. Yes, anybody can fall for these sophisticated predators.



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  2. Jan7 says:

    Brigitte, what a crazy nightmare of a story. Every time I think I have heard it all on LF someone like you post their awful heartbreaking story and I realize I have not heard it all. I am truly sorry that this evil man came in to your life. It’s so shocking and still unbelievable to me that women groups & domestic abuse centers do not spread the truth (that these men are psychopaths/sociopaths) to help the next generation of women before they become victims to these fraud evil predators. Thank goodness for Donna & Terry (Lovefraud)!!

    I am so proud of you for crawling your way out of hell, writing a book and having the strength to start over fresh.

    BRAVO to you hon!!! YOU are a incredibly strong & courages woman!!



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  3. Thank You, Thank You, Thank You for writing this book. I bought this book April 8, 2015 and finished it as the sun was coming up on April 9, 2015. It has been 15 months since I ended a relationship with a man that could be Johnny’s twin brother. My experience was almost identical to the one told in this story – Florida, the Jag, instead of a Dry Cleaner it was a Hearing Aid business in a strip mall in New Port Richey FL, the lack of support with the Sheriff’s Department (worthless), his obsession with his “things”, gas lighting, cheating, lying (I too, never knew these animals existed). It is comforting in a bizarre way to know you are not the only one that lived this hell on earth. Hopefully many women will read this book and understand the signs before they step into the quicksand and get buried alive. Bravo!!! Thank you for sharing your nightmare with us … Love and Light ~ Deirdre Cavener​



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  4. kathy50 says:

    Brigette, I just ordered your book to be sent to a dear friend who sits in jail right now awaiting trial for killing her husband. He misrepresented himself and terrorized her until the final confrontation. Your story could have been hers, except for the ending.



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    • Jan7 says:

      Kathy50, my gosh what an awful story too. I can see how she was pushed to her ultimate limit by a evil sociopath and the fear to protect herself. Have you thought about educating her lawyers about psychopathic abuse? then her lawyers might give her a good chance to have at least a reduced sentence as a victim of domestic abuse or maybe a better outcome for her.

      Some other books that might wake up the lawyers to wake up the court for your friend:

      Freedom of mind by Steven Hassan (he might be a good expert to discuss the mind control aspect of domestic abuse)

      Woman who love psychopaths by Sandra Brown

      The Gas Lighting Effect by Dr Robin Stern

      Why does he do that? by Lundy Bancroft (he is a court expert on the subject matter & could help your friend in court as an expert)

      LoveFraud by Donna Anderson (Lovefraud site creator see bookstore at the top of the site for more of Donna’s books)

      Most lawyers & judges are NOT educated on sociopath abuse especially brain washing/mind control and gas lighting abuse (google)

      Sending out prayers to the universe for your friend.



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  5. Brigitte Knowles says:

    Thank you for all of your words of support. Sandra Brown’s book saved my life. It was through her words that I understood that I was a victim of a predator with an enterprising goal to get all of my money no matter what he had to do to get it. That means it was how he made a living long before me and after me. I was just a means to an end. What horrified me then and continues to do so today, is that at an alarming rate, women are becoming victims of financial predators online, sending money to men they never met. Yet when you watch the Dr. Phil shows about these women, you see they are victims of dynamics of control by men they never met, but on the telephone, the same words and powerful emotional maneuvers create a one way path to inevitable harm. Some women have even gone to meet these men in their country to marry them after having sent all of the money to have a house and car and a life together. They wind up dead when the man realizes she has no more money and is of no more use to them. Psychopaths have use for us as long as our supply of whatever it is they feed on is still available for them. Women sending money online are subject to prosecution for money laundering if they send amounts that are red flagged. So many women are victims of Coerced Debt (look that up) and wind up in financial hell. It has to stop. We need to organize and show our force. At this point we are one at a time, victimized and destroyed. There has to be a way to build something by which we are protected and defended. How many women have gone to jail? How many have committed suicide? How many are right now thinking about committing a crime? All because of the psychopath who has come into their lives and distorted their mind and made them feel crazy? I think of the spirit and souls of the women who died in acts of domestic violence against them by psychopaths who “lost control”. Thank you for reading my book. I feel there is so much work to be done. Donna’s website and work is preventing by educating, which is the most important thing to do. Educate our younger girls never to fall into the trap of loving a psychopath. They need to know what we were never told. They need to learn from our mistakes.



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