Fraudster catfished woman out of £17k but she has now adopted him as a son

A former fraudster who stole the identity of a US soldier to get "retired divorcees" to fall in love with him and empty their bank accounts has been accepted as a son by one of his victims.

Chris Bamibeli used the photos of a shredded US soldier to entice ladies into falling for him, going on to drain one victim's account of £17,000.

The woman, who Chris only identified as Laura, had fallen in love and would regularly send him anything from $200 to thousands of dollars – believing that he was her boyfriend.

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Speaking exclusively with The Mirror, the fraudster confessed how he stole the identity of a "cute" and "handsome" US soldier by lifting his pictures and profile from Instagram.

He told the title that he would use emotional stories to pull on the woman's heart strings, and she fell hook, line and sinker.

He added: "I told her I'm on deployments, and I don't have access to my bank account.

"Or I don't have access to my credit card, so I'm literally starving. I'm starving and I need to pay money for my rent or my bills."

Chris made it seem like he was in dire straits and that Laura was the only one who could help him.

"When someone is in a relationship with you, they don't want you to suffer," he said. "So I just used that opportunity to ask her for money."

Laura's small donations started racking up, and soon Chris had $20,000 of her money in his account.

But the American mum's life was now falling apart, with her drowning in debt and experiencing mental health issues as a result of the situation.

Seeing the pain he'd caused Laura, Chris claims to have undergone a crisis of conscience that led to him giving up fraud for an honest life.

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Chris said: "I started feeling like a guilty conscience because this was the first time I actually scammed a lot of money like that.

"My conscience was so so disturbing me, like she'd become depressed because of my scamming.

"She ran into debt, she couldn't be happy, she couldn't eat."

Chris told Laura the man she believed she was in a relationship with was actually him, a fraudster.

He said: "I called her on a video call. But to my surprise she didn't block me. And she ended up adopting me like a son.

"She told me that she already forgave me and we've been talking since then."

It was this kindness that triggered Chris' desire to "let the world know what I did".

Chris, who now works with Social Catfish, a company dedicated to preventing online scams through reverse search technology – said he plans to pay Lisa back every penny that he stole.

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