Stolen valor: fake soldier scams Florida woman out of $25K


  • Florida resident Suzan Rizzo met a handsome Army man online.
  • He said he spent all of his money traveling from Afghanistan to Israel, so Rizzo sent him $25,000.
  • Rizzo realized her mistake when he asked her to send another $300,000.

A Florida woman hopes to get her money back after falling victim to a scam by a fake military officer.

Susan Rizzo said she sent $25,000 to a handsome man she met online.

“I sent the money because after two months of communicating I felt I was developing a relationship that felt real,” Rizzo said.

Nicholas Shawn Wells Edwards told Rizzo he needed the money for his return trip to South Florida. He claimed to be an Army soldier who spent all of his money getting from Afghanistan to Israel.

“I sent the first amount of money feeling it was right based on where we were at,” Rizzo said.

However, some details didn’t add up. Edwards sent her instructions to send the money that included an Atlanta address. Also, the instructions had spelling and grammatical errors.

“Unfortunately, conditions in the world right now are prime for these types of scams,” said Michael D’Angelo, head of Secure Direction Consulting. “With the whole pandemic, and the withdrawal from Afghanistan, it’s just perfect time to appeal to people’s empathy so we are seeing a lot of these online scams popping up all over the place.”

So, when did Rizzo know it wasn’t real?

“What he asked for even more, an additional $300,000,” she said. Luckily, she didn’t send any more money.

Rizzo said she contacted the FBI and local police. She wanted to share her story to prevent other women from falling victim to scams like this.

“For somebody else to get taken like this emotionally and financially — it’s’ embarrassing. It’s hurtful,” Rizzo said.

Source: NBC 6

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