Scam husband story: Judith Stillwell’s story about how husband Ovi Elias wasn’t the man he seemed appears in THAT’S LIFE magazine…
It’s traumatic enough to find you’ve been cheated on but what about if your husband has different women all over the world? That was the extraordinary situation Judith Stillwell found herself in after she was contacted by a woman on the other side of the world…
After her story appeared in The Daily Mail, I placed Judith’s story in That’s Life magazine and you can read it below…
Have you been conned by a man? Get back in control by selling your story to a magazine or newspaper! I can give you free advice about selling a story – just contact me using the form to the right of this page >>>
I LOVE YOU … AND 47 OTHERS…
By Alison Smith-Squire
Judith Stillwell 61, thought she’d met the perfect man. But nothing about Ovi Elias was as it seemed…
‘ Sitting with my laptop, I clicked through the men’s faces on the dating website.
A retired teacher, I’d divorced many years ago. But now my two kids were grown up and I longed for some company.
And while I was nervous about dating a man I met online, my friend had encouraged me to give it a go.
“It will be a giggle,” she said, “and you never know – you might meet the man of your dreams…”
Suddenly there he was. I looked at the screen and the broad smile of a black man caught my eye.
He wasn’t my usual type. But there was something about him – he looked so friendly and kind. And exotic!
We began messaging and within days Ovi Elias had rung and asked me out for a drink.
He said he was a year older than me.
“I’m the eldest of ten children,” he explained as we enjoyed a dinner together one night, “I came to the UK twenty years ago as a student – and I’ve been here ever since…”
Since then he’d qualified as an accountant.
I was impressed – especially when he told me how he’d managed to buy a flat in London.
Now he was buying a property in Dubai.
Of course I was aware of being duped by someone I’d met online. I’d read about women who’d been scammed and felt sorry for them.
But a few weeks later he took me to see the flat he owned and later that day, when he kissed me for the first time, I knew he was different from any man I’d ever met.
Soon Ovi moved into my three-bed bungalow in Ashington, West Sussex, renting out his London property.
Over the next year he went back and forth to Dubai to sort out his investment there.
Then one day I could see he looked worried.
“There’s legal problems with the property in Dubai,” he said. It was going to cost him thousands of pounds in extra lawyer’s fees.
I’d never seen him look so stressed.
“Look,” I said, “I’ve got some money put away in my savings….” Later that day I transferred £10,000 into his account.
In August 2012 Ovi and I wed.
Only as I stared at his documents I was puzzled.
They were in the name of Steve Givochi.
“That’s just a business name,” he shrugged. Maybe I should have questioned him more but as we exchanged vows and I looked into those brown eyes, I didn’t think of it again.
The business problems in Dubai were taking all his money. So I paid for our wedding.
A few weeks later I also paid for us to visit his relatives in Kenya.
As I lay down next to Ovi in flat his brother shared with many other relatives, I was struck by how hard and uncomfortable the bed was.
Days later I was moved by the dilapidated state of his father’s house. He didn’t even have proper running water let alone a shower. And yet his father was so kind, so welcoming. Everyone did so much to make me feel at home.
“Let me pay for the water to be connected and showers,” I said.
As I transferred around £10,000 out of my account, I felt happy. After all these people, my in laws, needed the money much more than I did…
Ovi was still having legal problems with the property in Dubai. Over the next few years I did as much as I could to help – giving him money here and there.
Meanwhile, he spent months at a time in Dubai desperately trying to sort out the mess.
Often a trip meant to last a weekend would last months as he became embroiled in legal talk in Dubai.
“I wish I were back home with you,” he’d say when I asked how long he’d be, “but it will be worth it for both of us in the end.”
Of course I missed him but then I was busy too – catching up with my grown up kids and with my part time voluntary post as a parish councillor.
Then in February (2015), with a tear in my eye, I waved him off at Heathrow for yet another business trip to Dubai.
That evening I opened my laptop to do an update – and my stomach turned over.
There in the corner was Ovi’s eticket. And it didn’t say Dubai – it said Australia.
Immediately I rang Ovi.
“Oh but I am going to Dubai,” he said, “I just met a friend and I am going to Australia first.”
Of course. I knew there would be an explanation. I felt guilty I’d even asked.
But three weeks later I suddenly got an email.
It was from a woman called Karen in Australia. “Steve is not who you think he is,” she warned.
I felt sick as I read on how he’d been in Australia with her. Only one night Steve had used her laptop and not closed his emails down properly.
It was then she’d found a list of 47 women on an email. I was one of them – but there was a woman in the States, a Roz in Tasmania and someone else in the Philippines.
“He met all of us on dating websites,” she said, “and he spins all of us the same story about a property in Dubai.”
My heard thudded as I read on. Steve, as she knew him, would then stay with each woman for a few weeks or months at a time before getting them to pay his airfares all round the world.
“If you don’t believe me, the woman in the US will tell you more!” she said.
In a blur of tears I emailed the address she’d given me in the States.
Within minutes a reply had come back from Tess.
Shockingly, when I thought Ovi was away in Dubai the year before he’d been with her.
I burst into tears as I carried on reading her email.
Steve had said to her he was 47 and single. She’d even sent him money for his airfare to her home in Philadelphia… everything Karen in Australia said was true.
Trembling I rang Ovi. I realised I had no idea where he was. “Where are you?” I said, “Who are you?”
His voice was calm. “I can explain everything, it’s not what you think.”
A week later he came arrived back home.
“I want you back,” he said, “we can work it out.”
But I wasn’t having any of it.
“Where’s all the money gone that I’ve given you?” I stormed. I’d added it up and I must have given him over £25,000 savings.
“If that’s what you want,” he said. The front door slammed and he was gone.
That was in April – I haven’t seen him since.
I was so angry I went to the Police.
“I think I’ve been scammed,” I told them, “in fact I think I’m one of many women who’s been scammed…”
But there was nothing they could do.
“The thing is technically speaking your husband hasn’t broken any laws,” said one officer, “after all you willingly gave him the money…”
I felt so foolish. And betrayed.
It dawned on me I knew nothing about him. I didn’t even know if the flat I went to see in London really did belong to him. I had no idea whether anything – including the stuff about him being an accountant – was true.
My only hope is telling my story warns other women to beware.’
Judith Stillwell, 61. from West Sussex.