"Perfect gentleman" wanted for conning widows
The 58-year-old suspect charmed and made empty promises of a life together with 12 Spanish women before swindling them of at least EUR 200,000.10 June 2008
MADRID - He seemed like the perfect man: "kind," "cultured," "a gentleman" is how his victims remember their first impressions. But the suave 58-year-old whom they fell in love with turned out to be less of a knight in shining armour.
Moisés Elías Chocrón, alias Carlos Echeverría, is currently the subject of a police inquiry after a dozen women across Spain accused him of promising them marriage and then swindling them out of their money.
Now the fraudster has added blackmail to his list of crimes, telling some his victims that he will send pornographic photos and videos of them to their relatives if they do not drop their lawsuits.
Though the police are already working on the case, they have not yet been able to convince their counterparts in Israel, where Chocrón lives, to arrest the suspect, who cheated the 12 women who have filed lawsuits so far out of at least EUR 200,000.
He first won their confidence and admiration by telling them how he is supposedly the manager of a five-star hotel in Tel Aviv. He also said he had not been with a woman since his wife had died 10 years earlier. And then he charmed his victims - most of them middle-aged divorcees and widows - with promises of a life together.
"I didn't think about going to Tel Aviv but then he called me on the phone... he was a snake charmer. I bought a ticket the next day and after 24 hours of being in his house, as we were eating, he asked me to marry him," says María, who preferred to use an assumed name, as did the other female victims this newspaper spoke with.
"Almost all of us are alike: women around 50, separated or widows, who do not want to be alone," says Elena, another of the fake Don Juan's victims.
Another victim, Shaila from Málaga, produces a letter from Chocrón, professing his love for her. "My darling... I only want to hold you in my arms, kiss you and love you forever."
Months later, after taking EUR 120,000 of Shaila's money, supposedly for wedding preparations and finding himself accused of fraud, his tone changed: "I'll make your neighbours run you out of town. Don't test me. I'll give you and your children a surprise that they'll regret. I also know how to post things on the internet."
He told several of the women that he had secretly photographed or recorded them in bed at his home in Tel Aviv and said he would make the images public if they did not drop the charges against him.
His attempt at blackmail has backfired, however. None of the women have backed down and Spanish prosecutors have charged him under gender violence laws.
[El Pais / Natalia Junquera / Expatica]