Online dating can be a horrible experience.
You can get catfished (meaning people online lie), get corny pickup lines, and field weird requests. (Let’s not go into the details.)
But it could be worse, as several women recently found out.
The Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday announced fraud charges against a Connecticut man who allegedly misled people into investing in his surgical-glove company but kept the money.
Several women he met through a dating website fell into that trap, according to a press release. The SEC didn’t say which website he was using.
Here is the SEC on the case:
The SEC alleges that Thomas J. Connerton told investors that his company Safety Technologies LLC was developing a material to make surgical gloves better resistant to cuts or punctures. He claimed that several major glove manufacturers wanted the technology and Safety Technologies was on the brink of imminent deals that would result in large payouts for investors in his company. But no deals have ever been anywhere close to materialising, and Connerton has emptied the company’s bank account by writing a series of checks to himself and using investor funds for his own expenses.
Connerton spent $20,000 for an engagement ring for his latest online date turned investor, according to court documents filed by the SEC. More than 50 people invested in Safety Technologies, including six other women he met through online dating and 14 others who are family or friends of those women, according to the release.
The SEC got a court order to freeze assets of Connerton and Safety Technologies. The agency is also looking for a permanent injunction (a court order that requires someone to do something or refrain from an activity), a penalty, and return of those “ill-gotten gains plus interest.”
“We charge Connerton with lying about the state of his business and exploiting personal connections to lure in investors,” said Paul G. Levenson, director of the SEC’s Boston office. “Investors beware: A rosy picture of a business that’s about to take off could still lead to a total loss of investment.”