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So What You're Saying Is I Shouldn't Invest Money With A Guy I Just Matched With Online? Is That What You're Saying?

Thomas J. Connerton wasn't just looking for love.
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This seems like a good idea.

This seems like a good idea. And romantic!

When embarking upon the wide world of OkCupid, Tinder, Bumble, and TrumpSingles, there are a few things the ladies generally worry about. Things like, "Will he murder me?" and "Does he have an entire database of shirtless bathroom selfies categorized by season and reason?" and "Is he going to shout 'Make America Great' every time he thrusts into me?" Likely few have wondered "Is this guy going to abscond with the money I just gave him to invest in a company he claims is revolutionizing the surgical glove industry," but that's about to change.

The SEC alleges that Thomas J. Connerton told investors that his company Safety Technologies LLC was developing a material to make surgical gloves better resistant to cuts or punctures. He claimed that several major glove manufacturers wanted the technology and Safety Technologies was on the brink of imminent deals that would result in large payouts for investors in his company. But no deals have ever been anywhere close to materializing, and Connerton has emptied the company’s bank account by writing a series of checks to himself and using investor funds for his own expenses...Of Safety Tech’s approximately 55 investors, six (6) are women Connerton met through a well-known Internet dating service and another 14 are family members or friends of those six women. Approximately 36% of Safety Tech’s investors and about 51% of the money Connerton has raised tie back to Connerton’s online dating activities.

So, just a few best practices moving forward:

  • Tempting as it may be, remind yourself that scanning a few profile pictures and an About Me section that reads "Entrepreneur...always up for an adventure...6'0 so you can wear your highest heels lol" does not constitute due diligence.
  • Try and find out if the guy already has a fiancée* and if he does, maybe ask him what his motivations for maintaining an active dating profile are and if they include targeting would-be investors for his scam.
  • Resist telling your friends and family "I don't want to get too excited but I just met this great guy and he's super cute and witty and we should all give him our money for this amazing company he runs."
  • Perhaps do some research on his industry of choice, just to see if his product is really as revolutionary as he says it is.
  • Focus less on whether or not he's trying too hard by listing how much he can bench and more about what it means that he tells potential clients “What I would really like to emphasize is that we are an open book company meaning that any investor can look at the books at any time. No Bernie Madof’s [sic] here!”

Investment Fraud Victims Include Online Daters [SEC via Matt Levine]
Securities And Exchange Commission v Thomas J. Connerton and Saftey Technologies [SEC]

*"Of the amounts paid to himself, Connerton spent $20,000 in March 2016 on an engagement ring for his current fiancée."