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He said he had stumbled across her profile while searching for a college friend who shared her last name; he also noted that his own surname was actually Mc Gregor, not Gregor.
After a bit more flirtatious back-and-forth on Facebook, Elrod invited him to continue their conversation on Yahoo Messenger.
But more often than not, she ended the day no richer than she’d started.
As she waited for the Bluefield Area Transit bus to whisk her back to West Virginia, Elrod would think about her fiancé, a Scottish oil worker she’d met online.
The missive caught her eye because of the sender’s handsome profile photo, which showed a middle-aged man with a ruddy face, strong black eyebrows, and a welcoming gaze.
His name was Duke Gregor.“How beautiful is your picture Audrey,” the message read.
As soon as Elrod would exit First Community with a bundle of and 0 bills in her purse, she’d hang a right and walk across the parking lot to Ridgeview Plaza, a vast and featureless shopping mall surrounded by scraggly woods.
On the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, Elrod opened a checking account at a First Community Bank branch located just across the state line in the twin town of Bluefield, Virginia.
At each stop she’d wire another chunk of money to Sinclair.
Sometimes, if her phone bill was due or her refrigerator was barren, she kept a few dollars for herself.
Elrod never let this money linger: She always showed up at the bank a few hours after a transfer cleared, to withdraw as much as ,500 in cash.
She would then return on subsequent days to make additional four-figure withdrawals until the account was nearly empty.
As part of this blossoming relationship, Elrod grew close to Mc Gregor’s son, Kevin, a 17-year-old boarding school student in Manchester, UK.