Suspect Charged in Online Dating Scheme That Stole $437K From Woman: Police

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Suspect Charged in Online Dating Scheme That Stole $437K From Woman: Police


Connecticut State Police have arrested a man accused in a scheme that stole more than $437,000 from a Tolland woman, according to police.

According to the arrest warrant, so-called “romance scams,” which often target vulnerable populations like the elderly, are a rising problem internationally. Police believe the suspect, 32-year-old Kennard Banks, of Boynton Beach, Florida, was involved in such a scheme, which they say was run by a larger criminal organization dedicated to cybercrime.

Police said the investigation began in January 2019 when the victim reported that she had been defrauded of $437,800 by someone she met on a dating site targeted at the 50+ age group.

According to the warrant, the victim told police that from November 7, 2018 through December 26, 2018, she wired money to two men she met online, who told her their names were Teddy Banas and Charles Zacks. The victim said she believed she was helping Banas with a business deal.

The victim’s statement says that after she sent the money she discovered the businesses appeared to be fraudulent and began to suspect that the men were not who they said they were. She noted that Banas had promised to pay her back and provided her with a copy of a cashier’s check for $1.45 million, which she also suspected was fake.

She also told police they were still pressuring her for more money and that Banas had implied that he was watching her house. The victim had never met either man in person and that they communicated online and by phone.

Investigators determined that the images from Banas’ profile were stolen from an Instagram account.

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