Manatee Co. woman says con man from dating site took her retirement

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A Manatee County woman says she was scammed out of more than $300,000 by a man she met on a dating website.

Pamela Viles, 69, says the online relationship went on for more than a year-and-a-half.

The man told Viles he owned a construction company.

"He had an Australian accent, dual citizenship. He grew up in Australia and spent most of his life in Toronto," Viles said.

One day, the man told her there was an accident on one of his construction sites in Dubai and he needed money. 

He convinced Viles if she gave it to him, he would repay her.

Viles says she maxed out her credit cards, drained her bank accounts, and even cashed in her IRA.

"I'm 69, I've been working and trying to pay all these bills," said Viles, choking back tears. "This is not how I wanted my retirement to go, to be a burden to my children. It's just an awful thing."

Viles says she wants to warn others, especially seniors, not to fall victim to online scams.

She says she takes full responsibility but would like to see new banking regulations to protect seniors who transfer large amounts of money, especially overseas.

Viles says she plans to talk to the FBI. The Manatee County Sheriff's Office is also investigating.