FILING A CRIMINAL COMPLAINT
This information is intended only for victims who actually sent money to the scammers.
If you did not send any money to the scammer, you cannot file a complaint.
A raid on the scammers' office in Yoshkar-Ola, Russia
EVERYONE who lost money due to Russian dating scams should consider filing a criminal complaint with Russian or Ukrainian authorities. Although it may or may not return you YOUR money, but it is the only thing that has a potential to stop the scammers from doing the same thing to others just like you..
Unless Russian police receive an official legal complaint from someone who lost money due to a scam, police cannot investigate or prosecute this criminal activity, and the scammers will continue on with their business.
Filing a criminal complaint involves:
When your complaint reaches Russian authorities, it will be looked at by a police officer. That officer will have to determine whether or not:
If all the above things are present in the complaint, police will likely register the complaint and start a criminal investigation.
Having a case opened does not automatically means that the scammers will be led away in handcuffs right away (as some people would like to see). But it is the most important step toward that goal.
After the case is opened, police will try to locate the person whose name was used to receive the money. They will contact Western Union/MoneyGram or the bank, and try to obtain their records. Once that is done, they will contact the person who received the money (according to the records) and interview her or him, and the process will begin.
Whether or not police will get lucky and find enough information to secure an arrest warrant is something that is sometimes beyond their control. Some cases unfold very quickly (if the crooks were not very good at covering their tracks). Some cases take months and years. But the main thing is, the scammers are usually aware of the ongoing investigation, and that causes them a great deal of worry. As long at the case against them is open, they will toss and turn at night, waiting for that terrible day when their door will bust open and a few friendly SWAT team officers will ask them to lay on the floor face down.
Opening a criminal case against the scammers will result in several things:
But none of that will happen UNLESS SOMEONE ACTUALLY FILES A COMPLAINT.
WILL THEY BE ACTUALLY SENT TO PRISON?
Several groups of scammers have been caught.
But realistically speaking, you have about 30-50% chance of hearing the good news about your scammer receiving a jail term. It doesn't sound like much, but it is still better than 0%.
There are several reasons for the small number of successful prosecutions: