Police say a man scammed a Georgia woman out of $80,000 after agreeing to marry her within a week of meeting on Match.com

Gwinnett County Police DepartmentJohn Martin Hill.
  • John Martin Hill, 35, was arrested by Tennessee authorities on suspicion of scamming a Georgia woman out of $US80,000.
  • The police in Georgia said Hill met the woman on Match.com and quickly convinced her that they were in love and should move in together. She gave him money to purchase a house and buy furniture, according to the police.
  • Thousands of people across the US are targeted by romance scams each year.
  • Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.

She thought it was love at first.

A Georgia woman living in Alpharetta found a man on Match.com in March and, during what she thought was their whirlwind romance, he convinced her that he was a millionaire and that they were in love. Within a week, the two agreed to get married and move in together.

That’s according to the police in Georgia following the arrest of the man, identified as John Martin Hill, 35, on suspicion of scamming the woman out of $US80,000 she thought was going toward a house and furniture.

“Following the exchange of money, the suspect ceased all contact,” a representative for the Gwinnett County Police Department in Georgia told INSIDER in a statement.

Hill was arrested Wednesday in Tennessee, according to authorities, and other women have since come forward claiming to have also been in relationships with him. In a statement describing Hill’s arrest, the Franklin Police Department in Tennessee said Hill tried to escape “by darting into a hotel conference room and hiding under a table.” He is being held on a $US500,000 bond.

While investigating the case, authorities discovered that Hill lived with another woman and a child in Duluth, Georgia. The Gwinnett police said he had changed his name at least five times in the past 2 1/2 years and was suspected of engaging in similar schemes in Virginia, Delaware, Maryland, and New Jersey.

Thousands of people across the US are targeted by romance scams each year, according to the Federal Trade Commission. While 8,500 people reported romance scams in 2015, costing victims about $US33 million, that number jumped to more than 21,000 reported scams in 2018, with $US143 million in losses.

The agency noted that people ages 40 to 69 reported falling for romance scams at the highest rates, while people over 70 reported the highest individual median losses at $US10,000.

“By sharing this story, it is our hope that he is not able to victimize any other women using this scam,” the Gwinnett County Police Department said. “These types of con men are very good at manipulating their victims. They tend to say everything that a woman wants to hear.”

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