Despite her hand-to-mouth circumstances, Elrod’s new account soon began to receive a series of sizable wire transfers, many of which originated abroad.

Over the course of one December week, for example, almost ,000 arrived from Norway; on January 2, someone in France sent ,977.

She wrote back, thanking the sender for complimenting her beauty and asking how he’d found her.

He said he had stumbled across her profile while searching for a college friend who shared her last name; he also noted that his own surname was actually Mc Gregor, not Gregor.

She was in the midst of divorcing her husband of 14 years; his legal woes (including arrests for benefits fraud and making a false bomb report) had strained their marriage.

Anxious about her future as an older single woman, Elrod lapped up the kind words about her looks—too few men seemed to appreciate her soft chin, wavy hair, and prominent brown eyes.

Elrod never let this money linger: She always showed up at the bank a few hours after a transfer cleared, to withdraw as much as $9,500 in cash.

She would then return on subsequent days to make additional four-figure withdrawals until the account was nearly empty.

His name was Duke Gregor.“How beautiful is your picture Audrey,” the message read.

“My name is Duke, I am from Aberdeen do you know where? I have a son named Kevin and by the Grace of God I will meet that someone again.”The typical Facebook user would likely recognize such a note as bait, but Elrod was in a place in her life that made her vulnerable to such flattery.

At Walmart, Elrod would head to the Money Center counter, where she'd transmit between

She would then return on subsequent days to make additional four-figure withdrawals until the account was nearly empty.His name was Duke Gregor.“How beautiful is your picture Audrey,” the message read.“My name is Duke, I am from Aberdeen do you know where? I have a son named Kevin and by the Grace of God I will meet that someone again.”The typical Facebook user would likely recognize such a note as bait, but Elrod was in a place in her life that made her vulnerable to such flattery.At Walmart, Elrod would head to the Money Center counter, where she'd transmit between $1,500 and $1,800 to a man she knew as Sinclair.As soon as Elrod would exit First Community with a bundle of $50 and $100 bills in her purse, she’d hang a right and walk across the parking lot to Ridgeview Plaza, a vast and featureless shopping mall surrounded by scraggly woods.As she waited for the Bluefield Area Transit bus to whisk her back to West Virginia, Elrod would think about her fiancé, a Scottish oil worker she’d met online.

||

She would then return on subsequent days to make additional four-figure withdrawals until the account was nearly empty.

His name was Duke Gregor.“How beautiful is your picture Audrey,” the message read.

“My name is Duke, I am from Aberdeen do you know where? I have a son named Kevin and by the Grace of God I will meet that someone again.”The typical Facebook user would likely recognize such a note as bait, but Elrod was in a place in her life that made her vulnerable to such flattery.

At Walmart, Elrod would head to the Money Center counter, where she'd transmit between $1,500 and $1,800 to a man she knew as Sinclair.

As soon as Elrod would exit First Community with a bundle of $50 and $100 bills in her purse, she’d hang a right and walk across the parking lot to Ridgeview Plaza, a vast and featureless shopping mall surrounded by scraggly woods.

As she waited for the Bluefield Area Transit bus to whisk her back to West Virginia, Elrod would think about her fiancé, a Scottish oil worker she’d met online.

||

She would then return on subsequent days to make additional four-figure withdrawals until the account was nearly empty.

His name was Duke Gregor.“How beautiful is your picture Audrey,” the message read.

“My name is Duke, I am from Aberdeen do you know where? I have a son named Kevin and by the Grace of God I will meet that someone again.”The typical Facebook user would likely recognize such a note as bait, but Elrod was in a place in her life that made her vulnerable to such flattery.

At Walmart, Elrod would head to the Money Center counter, where she'd transmit between $1,500 and $1,800 to a man she knew as Sinclair.

,500 and

She would then return on subsequent days to make additional four-figure withdrawals until the account was nearly empty.His name was Duke Gregor.“How beautiful is your picture Audrey,” the message read.“My name is Duke, I am from Aberdeen do you know where? I have a son named Kevin and by the Grace of God I will meet that someone again.”The typical Facebook user would likely recognize such a note as bait, but Elrod was in a place in her life that made her vulnerable to such flattery.At Walmart, Elrod would head to the Money Center counter, where she'd transmit between $1,500 and $1,800 to a man she knew as Sinclair.As soon as Elrod would exit First Community with a bundle of $50 and $100 bills in her purse, she’d hang a right and walk across the parking lot to Ridgeview Plaza, a vast and featureless shopping mall surrounded by scraggly woods.As she waited for the Bluefield Area Transit bus to whisk her back to West Virginia, Elrod would think about her fiancé, a Scottish oil worker she’d met online.

||

She would then return on subsequent days to make additional four-figure withdrawals until the account was nearly empty.

His name was Duke Gregor.“How beautiful is your picture Audrey,” the message read.

“My name is Duke, I am from Aberdeen do you know where? I have a son named Kevin and by the Grace of God I will meet that someone again.”The typical Facebook user would likely recognize such a note as bait, but Elrod was in a place in her life that made her vulnerable to such flattery.

At Walmart, Elrod would head to the Money Center counter, where she'd transmit between $1,500 and $1,800 to a man she knew as Sinclair.

As soon as Elrod would exit First Community with a bundle of $50 and $100 bills in her purse, she’d hang a right and walk across the parking lot to Ridgeview Plaza, a vast and featureless shopping mall surrounded by scraggly woods.

As she waited for the Bluefield Area Transit bus to whisk her back to West Virginia, Elrod would think about her fiancé, a Scottish oil worker she’d met online.

||

She would then return on subsequent days to make additional four-figure withdrawals until the account was nearly empty.

His name was Duke Gregor.“How beautiful is your picture Audrey,” the message read.

“My name is Duke, I am from Aberdeen do you know where? I have a son named Kevin and by the Grace of God I will meet that someone again.”The typical Facebook user would likely recognize such a note as bait, but Elrod was in a place in her life that made her vulnerable to such flattery.

At Walmart, Elrod would head to the Money Center counter, where she'd transmit between $1,500 and $1,800 to a man she knew as Sinclair.

,800 to a man she knew as Sinclair.

As soon as Elrod would exit First Community with a bundle of and 0 bills in her purse, she’d hang a right and walk across the parking lot to Ridgeview Plaza, a vast and featureless shopping mall surrounded by scraggly woods.

As she waited for the Bluefield Area Transit bus to whisk her back to West Virginia, Elrod would think about her fiancé, a Scottish oil worker she’d met online.