For years, Melbourne grandmother Mary Busuttil spoke to a man from the United States army who planned to visit Australia and marry her.
She had been wooed online by Sgt Major Samuel Spencer – the stolen identity of a real solider – who convinced her to allow money from his other victims to be transferred to her so she could turn it into bitcoin and send it to him.
Busuttil didn’t know she was being scammed until cameras from A Current Affair arrived on her doorstep, following a lead from another of the scammer’s victims.
Nino Martinetti was duped out of $13,000 after a scammer posed as Olivia Newton-John. Post continues below video.
The 63-year-old discovered she had been duped on Monday night’s show.
“I am speaking to someone online and he told me I need to send the money. Oh my god,” Busuttil said, realising the situation she was in as she spoke.
“He told me that if he has enough of the money then he will have enough for him to come and see me and I love you and I am going to marry you.”
Busuttil had received thousands of dollars from 74-year-old Queenslander Nino Martinetti, who too was tricked into thinking he had formed a genuine relationship online.
But Martinetti’s situation was unique because the award-winning cinematographer had actually met the person he believed he was talking to while working on the 2001 film The Wilde Girls. And that person was Olivia Newton-John.
“I met Olivia and it was like working with any other actor. My job is the same, I have to make them look good, which I did,” he told A Current Affair.
“I got a nice picture with her and that’s what started this whole saga.”