LAKE ELSINORE (CBSLA.com) — Police say the man stole hearts, and a lot of jewelry and cash as well.
A Lake Elsinore woman says she was duped out of thousands of dollars by a man she trusted. The man posed as a doctor on an online dating site.
And she is not his only victim, authorities said.
CBS2’s Crystal Cruz spoke to women who were scammed on a dating website.
Police say the man stole $65,000 worth of bling from one victim. Other women, he reportedly cleaned out their savings.
When Dr. Andrew Dean from Newport Beach emailed Lisa Shrout on an online dating site in June, Shrout was interested.
The surgeon and Shrout hit off immediately.
“He’s very smart,” she says. “He knows what to say.”
Shrout felt so comfortable with her new friend, she told him she had breast health concerns and she says the doctor offered to help. He examined her in her home, upper and lower body.
“It wasn’t anything that I would think [would make me think] he wasn’t a doctor.”
Gale Williams also met Dean who, online, went by the name Dusty.
“He told me he was an investment banker,” says Williams.
As it turns out, Dean the doctor and Dusty the investment banker are made up professions, along with the names, say the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.
Their date’s real name is Andrew Hernandez, and he was recently arrested in Lake Elsinore on suspicion of sexual assault. He is also accused of stealing $65,000 in jewelry from Shrout alone.
Shrout says the doctor offered to help turn her diamond ring, earrings and a necklace into cash.
“I think he’s a worthless piece of crap,” she says, “that he would steal from me and my children.”
She gave the jewelry to him and like magic Shrout says he disappeared, and so did her jewels.
“I told my daughter, ‘Get your stuff. We’re going to the police station. I made a big mistake.’ ”
Williams, 67, knows exactly how Shrout feels.
“I just wanted someone to love me,” Williams said. “I trusted him. Like a stupid idiot. I feel really dumb.”
Williams let Hernandez, 48, move in with her and during their two-year relationship (all platonic). Williams says she gave Hernandez more than $100,000 to invest for her. All of that money, she says, is gone.
Cruz spoke to two other women who told her similar tales about Hernandez.
All of them claimed to be out of cash. They said they were also duped by Hernandez and phony professions; he told these alleged victims that he was an officer with Homeland Security and a colonel in the military.
“I can forgive myself for making a stupid decision,” Shrout says, “but he can burn in hell.”