A Professional Love Scammer from Zimbabwe
[Published May 10, 2020; Updated 8/4/20] This is the story about a very successful criminal we’ll call “Mr. Harare Zimbabwe” who has tricked women into giving him more than $375,000 in just the last three years. Mr. Zimbabwe has used at least 22 aliases to represent himself and at least eleven fake business websites based on breadcrumbs we have traced to him as far back as May, 2016. It will become obvious later in this story why we believe this professional love scammer is located in South Harare, Zimbabwe. He, and perhaps a team of helpers, specifically target women in the age range of about 50 to 65 years of age. He sets his snares by first posting fake profiles on dating apps like Plenty of Fish (POF), Tinder, Bumble, Match.com, and Wonder[.]dating. We were first introduced to this man’s criminal exploits back in mid-July, 2019 when a 58-year old woman we called “Nancy” (not her real name) contacted us about a man she met online. The man was named David Aapro, a supposed Architect who said he was originally from Espoo, Finland, living in Illinois but working in Cyprus.
“David Aapro” had spent about two months developing his relationship with Nancy before he tried to cash in on that “investment” through several stories he fabricated. He started small, with a story about a broken laptop, and software he needed for the replacement laptop. Nancy told him she could not pay for his new laptop. But Nancy did purchase $400 in iTunes gift cards for David to buy the software he claimed to need. And then David’s problems took a serious turn when he was supposedly arrested in Cyprus. He asked Nancy for money to bail him out of jail. Instead of doing that she became extremely suspicious and contacted us at TheDailyScam.com. Our investigation exposed his fraud and we detailed it in our August, 2019 article titled “I Love You, Bail Me Out.”
Below is a list of 25 fake names used by Mr. Harare Zimbabwe to represent himself and his fake businesses since 2016:
- Anthony Fausberg, Founder of Fausberg Incorporated of Oakville, Ontario, Canada.; living in Miami, Florida (website FausbergInc.com taken down sometime between May 1 – 9, 2020)
- Avcan Construction, Brampton Ontario, Canada (website active as of May 10, 2020)
- Bai Lee Wang, Human Resources Director of Fausberg, Inc.
- Ben Theodore, 50-year old from Bristol, UK
- Benjamin Gray (Grey), Founder of Benjamin Gray Architecture, Roosevelt Island, NY. (website disabled as of 5/10/20)
- Chris T, a 56-year old Marine Engineer working on an oil platform
- Christian Smit, Architect and owner of Smit Construction & Solar Energy Solutions of Toronto or Montreal, Canada (Possibly previously called “Jones Construction”) (related LinkedIn account)
- Craig Smith
- Dave Chandlers, 54-year old from London, UK
- David A. Berg and TrustBankLLC.com
- David Aapro, CEO at DAPRO Architects and Engineers, from Espoo, Finland, living in Rockford Illinois (Site removed by 5/10/20)
- David J. Sigurdsson, Founder & CEO of Sigurdsson Construction, born in Iceland but from Dorchester, Massachusetts (web site active as of 5/10/20)
- Hayley Stone, Human Resources Manager of Jones Construction
- Lucas Totti, CEO at Lutti Architects and Engineers
- Maaike Chen, Marketing Director of Fausberg, Inc.
- Mark Jones, Vice President and Operations Manager of Jones Construction
- Michael Hills of Hills Construction in Oakville, Ontario, Canada and Boston, Massachusetts (two active websites as of May 5, 2020) Also found on Yolasite: https://hillsincconstruction.yolasite.com/ Read our feature article about Michael Hills and the 3 fake websites used by the scammer for his construction business.
- Robert Scott Millerson, Founder & CEO of Millerson Construction & Solar Energy of Montreal, Canada (Also MillersonPvt.ltd)
- Salif Mohammed, Director Manager of Credit Bank Benin in Burkina Faso, West Africa
- Sam Brown, a 52-year old from Chichester, UK
- Sam Kromstain, Chief Operating Officer of Fausberg, Inc.
- Sebastian Demitris, Vice President & General Operations Manager of Millerson Construction of Montreal, Canada
- James Morris, CEO on HillsPropertiesInc.com
- Denis Grant, as seen on the free international dating service: Wonder.dating on August 4, 2020
- Larry Keevn (found as a name in the link of the Facebook account of Michael Hills)
That was, by no means, the end of Mr. Harare Zimbabwe’s effort to victimize women. Just four months after publishing I Love You, Bail Me Out, we were contacted by another woman from Florida we’ve named “Celeste.” Celeste is a very credible and astute realtor who met a man named “Anthony Fausberg” on Tinder in September, 2019. Anthony Fausberg claimed to be the owner of an international solar installation and construction company called Fausberg Incorporated. Anthony said he grew up in Iceland, had lived in British Columbia, Canada but moved to Miami, Florida two years earlier. He and Celeste developed an online relationship over four months but never once had a video chat or Facetime conversation. As you might expect, they also hadn’t met in person. There was always a reason why it wasn’t possible, including technical difficulties with devices or locations overseas where Anthony travelled for work. All communication was via voice, text or emails. Anthony’s business dealings presumably took him all over the world, including Cyprus where he says he was arrested and thrown in jail. Does this sound familiar? Not only was Anthony Fausberg’s scam nearly identical to that used by David Aapro, but we uncovered many connections between these two fake characters supporting our case that they are, in fact, the same scammer (or perhaps a local team of scammers.) Celeste helped us gather many details to expose Anthony Fausberg’s lies and deceit which we published in our January, 2020 article “I Love You, Bail Me Out Again!” While digging into Celeste’s story about Anthony Fausberg, we also discovered many more breadcrumbs to other aliases and fake business websites created by Mr. Harare Zimbabwe. You can read about a few of these fake business websites and people in our related article called Fake Professionals. Mr. Zimbabwe has also created two fake bank websites that he very likely used to help him defraud his victims of their money. One of these bank sites was called Trust Bank LLC. (The website is unavailable as of May 10, 2020.) It was registered on August 17, 2018. The other bank is called Credit Bank Benin, and claims to have Mr. Salif Mohammed as the “Director Manager” since January, 1997. Google is unable to find any such bank. Here is a link to Mr. Salif Mohammed’s LinkedIn page, as of May 9, 2020. There is hardly any information on his page and no connections whatsoever.
While following the many breadcrumbs that connected these fake businesses and aliases, we stumbled upon an unusual single Yelp review about one of these businesses called Hills Construction, Inc. A woman gave this business a 1-star Yelp review on June 9, 2019, adding “Stay away! This guys a sociopath. Flim flam man, hustler, not to be trusted on any level.” Sadly, we knew we were seeing one of Mr. Harare Zimbabwe’s victims lashing out at him in the only way she could. In our investigation of Hills Construction, Inc we have discovered three different domains (and two currently active websites as of 5/10/20) that claim to represent this business. All three are claimed by the fake founder and CEO “Michael Hills.”
One of these domains, hillspropertiesinc.co, was first registered on November 28, 2018. This Hills Construction, Inc. website was taken down sometime before the winter of 2019, very likely in response to this Yelp reviewer. But we found this fraudulent business has reappeared recently as hillspropertiesinc.com. (Notice “.com” instead of “.co”). This domain ending in “.com” was registered on February 23, 2020 through a privacy service in Toronto, Canada. But this business is also available on a free web service called Yola. (Yola’s roots began in Cape Town, South Africa.) As of May 9, 2020, the Hills Construction, Inc Yola website can be found at https://hillsincconstruction.yolasite.com/. We reached out to the woman who wrote that Yelp review…
“While investigating “Hills Inc Construction” as a possible fake website, I came across your review of it on Yelp. I suspect that “Mr. Hills” could be the same professional scammer that 2 other women have contacted me about. (The man used the names David Aapro and Anthony Fausberg.) Would you be willing to tell me why you called Mr. Hills a fraud in your review of him in June, 2019?”
About two weeks later, on March 11, 2020 she replied. (We will call her Carey.) Carey told us that she had been duped into sending Michael Hills a great deal of money after building a relationship with him online and through many phone calls. While home after surgery in February, 2019, Carey was on the dating app Bumble and matched with Mr. Harare Zimbabwe, aka “Michael Hills.” She remembers that during one of their first conversations Michael asked her to send him a photo of herself with her hands on top of her head so he could see that she was real and he could trust her. Of course that was a complete manipulation but it worked to impress her. She didn’t think to ask the same of him, but she should have asked him to do a similar thing, but with a different pose.
His company, Hills Construction, was working on a project in Turkey when his manager had an accident. Michael Hills suddenly had to rush back to Turkey and was unable to visit Carey as planned. This is a familiar script Mr. Harare Zimbabwe has used many times in his subterfuge. She also said that he started out healthy but over time he was less and less so. Perhaps this was meant to develop concern in his victims. First he tests his level of trust with his victims by starting with a small request. With Carey, he said he was working on a website project for his business and didn’t have the money to complete it. He asked her to buy several $100 Apple gift cards and send him the codes. She did. As in all his scams, he appears to have connections to many places, including a location near to the victim he has targeted. He described his office in Boston very well, she said. But he also told Carey that he lived in San Jose, California (near her) and had a home in Toronto, Canada. Besides his construction business, Michael Hills also claimed to have an Architectural business. Once again, these are common threads to the scams perpetrated by Mr. Harare Zimbabwe. He typically claims to have several homes, and one of these homes or his business is usually located in Canada. Keep in mind that during these months when Mr. Harare Zimbabwe is grooming his victims, he is filling them with love, and the sense that he is a deeply sincere and heartfelt man with whom they hope to have a long relationship. He professes his love for them and that he wishes to marry them. Several of his victims have told us that they often had 2-hour phone conversations with him. (You can listen to a portion of two of these conversations below that were recorded by one of his latest victims.)
Carey was still terribly upset and angry, as she recalled her story to us. Her pain was palpable and I felt badly asking her to share the details of what happened to her. The only reason, she explained, that she was willing to speak about it at all was because she hoped it might help other women avoid this parasite. It was clear that she had fallen in love with Michael Hills. He made plans and promises to come see her. He even sent her copies of his plane tickets, but problems continually came up that delayed him from returning. He also changed phone numbers frequently, she said, and had many different email addresses. She remembers thinking it odd that his voice wasn’t on his phone’s voicemail.
By the end of our conversation she was unable, or unwilling, to report the details of exactly how he had tricked her into giving him so much money. Or perhaps, she was too embarrassed to share those details. I only know that as Michael Hills fell upon tough circumstances, she sent him money to help. Over and over. She said she took money from her 401K account and from her inheritance following the death of her 93 year old mother in December. She even took out a $7,000 loan for Michael Hills. All together, Carey told me that she sent Michael $375,000. In return, he promised that these were short term loans and he would repay them with interest. That never happened. By that point in our conversation, Carey was very upset. Yes, she filed a police report, she said, but you can imagine where that went. Michael Hills was a ghost. Carey, who was also a professional career woman, couldn’t believe she fell for his lies. She told me that Michael Hills had an amazing skill to reach right into her heart. That’s why he was able to manipulate her so successfully, she whispered. We ended our conversation with Carey promising to send me photos and texts the following weekend, but she never did. I let it go because I didn’t want to cause her any more pain.
Though The Daily Scam had plenty of other scams reported to us since the middle of March 2020, our inbox remained quiet from any women reporting love scams…. Until mid-April. We received an email from another woman with the subject line “Re: Anthony Fausberg.” It read…
“He is still at it. Met him on Tinder, chatted a few times then nothing. Went on Match and came across him again. He used the same name. Told me where he was from, about his business and moving to Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Seemed like a decent guy. I’m always leery of men so I started asking where he lived here, he said in an upcoming development called Bridgewater in a condo. Few weeks later I asked again, to see if he kept his story straight. He said he lived in a Villa there. He told me his dog Billy had to be put down, questioned him to see if he had other dogs, he said he at one time had a Rottweiler named Harley. After reading your article I texted him and told him what I had read and not to contact me again. He is an evil person to make you think he was an honest guy. By the way his profile on Match states he’s not into games. Just wanted to let you and your readers know.”
This woman informed us that she had met “Anthony Fausberg” about mid-March, 2020. The telephone number he provided her had an Ontario, Canada exchange. And also on April 14, nearly a month after our last conversation with Carey, we received an email from a 55 year old woman from Tennessee we will call Marianne…..
“I have been talking/texting to Anthony Fausberg for almost two months…. Met him on Tinder. I have some of the same pics. Just started professing his love and a life together, etc. What can I do to get this guts arrested? Are you guys interested? I’m so glad I decided to Google him tonight… it took me to you guys.” –Marianne
Marianne was a tremendous resource because she was already deep into an online relationship with this criminal whom she had met two months earlier. Like other women, Marianne had met Anthony Fausberg on the dating site Tinder. Anthony’s Tinder profile is clearly the exact opposite of the real Mr. Harare Zimbabwe. It is obviously meant to engender a feeling of trust in this devil.
“I am a principled man with a heart of gold and a rigid moral compass who still believes in old school values like honesty, integrity, and kindness.”
He was charming, highly empathetic, and knew exactly what to say to make Marianne feel loved. This is clearly one of Mr. Harare Zimbabwe’s most important skills. He has an exceptional ability to win the trust of the victims he targets. That and the fact that he is skilled at building his deceitful schemes into his narrative slowly over time. “Anthony” sent Marianne some of the exact same photos he had sent Celeste, plus a few new ones….
As Anthony’s story unfolded, he was in Abu Dhabi because one of his employees was injured on the job. Similar to what he told Celeste about his work in Cyprus, poor Anthony had neglected to take out worker’s insurance for this job. You see this was to be his last job before retiring and returning to Marianne to build a life together with her. Just like his previous flim-flam stories, Anthony explained that the court in Abu Dhabi said he couldn’t leave the country until he took care of the injured worker’s medical bills. And for some reason, he was also unable to access his company’s bank account in Panama. He asked Marianne to help him transfer funds from one account to another online. He wove a confusing story why neither he nor his business manager, a man called Sam Kromstain, were unable to do it. He needed Marianne to do this for him and though he assured her that it didn’t require any of her own personal funds, she was very nervous to get involved.
During this time, something else happened that was very odd and made Marianne suspicious. Anthony Fauserg suddenly had a new email address and name. He became “Anthony Hlodverson” and he contacted Marianne through the email address hlodversonanthony @ gmail.com. This led us to go looking for a website related to the name “Hlodverson Construction” and sure enough, we found it! HlodversonConstruction.com was registered anonymously less than two weeks earlier on April 12. This website used the same design, and many of the same pictures, that have been used on several of the websites created by Mr Harare Zimbabwe. And of course, this was another construction company so it would fit his scam narrative.
It appears to us that Mr. Harare Zimbabwe is getting a bit careless. Not only did he reuse the same web design and photos from his other fake sites but he didn’t even change the name of the photos he uploaded to this new website of a different name! For example, we dug into the web code that was used to create his “our team” web page of this new website and found that the photos of Anthony Hlodverson were still labelled as “Anthony Fausberg!”
One of the ways that we’ve been able to connect Mr. Harare Zimbabwe to his many aliases has been through reverse image searches. Here’s a simple example…. Earlier in this article we showed you a photo sent to Marianne of “Anthony Fausberg” leaning over a large blue exercise ball. We uploaded that photo to Google images and conducted a search for it. Google found that this image has appeared multiple times on the free online dating site called “Wonder[.]dating” but each link was connected to men with different names because “Anthony Fausberg’s” photo and name was found amongst suggested men lower down on the Wonder[.]dating web page.
Once Marianne found our article I Love You Bail Me Out, Again! which showed that Anthony was a complete fraud she was hurt. But she was also angry and wanted this criminal exposed so she agreed to help us do that. It turns out that Marianne is a very convincing actress! She continued her texts, emails and hours of phone calls with Anthony Fausberg, without revealing to him that she knew he was a flim-flam man. We discussed the best way to try to trick him into exposing himself in some way. This was also the same time that Anthony was beginning to pressure Marianne into helping him move money from one account to another, presumably at no risk to her. Marianne recorded two of her conversations with Anthony. We have purposely disguised her voice and removed portions of the conversation to protect her privacy and identity. Also, the voice recordings of Anthony are faintly recorded. We had to use sound-editing software to amplify his voice. He is not always easy to understand. We also removed long pauses that often followed the times that Marianne spoke, but before Anthony spoke. It was as if there was a delay between them because of some very long distance for the voice data to travel around the world.
(Important note: Celeste listened to these voice recordings and told us “I listened to all of the 3 conversations…absolutely 100% the same man that I was talking to and I laughed out loud quite a few times because he said the same things to me and called me Babe too…what a con artist – to the Max!”)
Excerpt Phone call with Anthony Fausberg, April 23
Excerpt Phone Call Part 1: Anthony Fausberg, 4/24/20
Excerpt Phone Call Part 2: Anthony Fausberg, 4/24/20
The timing of Anthony’s request for Marianne’s help was perfect! As he began to put pressure on her, we felt it made sense for her to ask him to sign a letter saying that everything he was asking of her was legal and at his personal request. With our help, Marianne sent him an email that contained a link to such a letter. She told him that she wanted him to sign and return it before she would do as he requested. Only it wasn’t what she said it was. It was a tracking link and, if clicked, could reveal his location in the world and other information such as the device on which he had clicked the link. He clicked it twice. Anthony Fausberg, who said he was on a job site in Abu Dhabi of the United Arab Emirates, was a criminal locationed in South Harare, Zimbabwe.
Though saddened, Marianne was grateful to have exposed this criminal. She’s a smart woman. She now believes that Mr. Harare Zimbabwe conducts research on the potential victims he intends to target. For example, he knew about Celeste’s love for horses and used that information to his advantage. With Marianne, there were a few interesting coincidences that she now believes were more likely because Mr. Harare Zimbabwe conducted research on her. For example, she had posted on her nephew’s Facebook account that she wanted to travel all 50 states in a motorhome. Interestingly enough, Anthony Fausberg told her he wanted to do that! Though Marianne lived in South Tennessee, she says it was no secret that she was interested in moving to Huntsville, Alabama. Anthony Fausberg claimed to have a home in Huntsville, but at the time was headed to New York to give a presentation. We think Marianne is spot on! Mr. Harare Zimbabwe is very likely researching his victims as he targets them and using that information to his advantage. Marianne also noticed that she began to develop her relationship with him in February, 2020 but Celeste didn’t end their relationship until some time in March. So Mr. Harare Zimbabwe is also planning ahead for his next victim. Clearly, this parasite has to maintain detailed notes to keep his fraudulent stories straight and convincing.
By the time this article is published, The Daily Scam will have notified the police in Harare, Zimbabwe. Though we have no idea if they will take the time to track phone records, identify this criminal’s cell phone and bring him in for questioning, we at least have the satisfaction of knowing that we’ve exposed this fraud and are making it harder for him to prey on women around the world. Fortunately, other people are beginning to take notice. On May 5, 2020, just before we published this article, we were contacted by a young woman who told us that her mother-in-law, a widow, had met a man named “Michael Hills” on a dating site. This daughter-in-law said that her mother-in-law was extremely excited about this man and that “he was the real deal.” Michael Hills wanted each of them to verify their information with IDs. He sent the woman a copy of his ID but the daughter-in-law tells us that his picture didn’t look right. Michael Hills also said he lives in Oakville Ontario, Canada. The daughter-in-law grew suspicious and Googled the man’s name and business. It led her to our article I Love You, Bail Me Out Again. Michael Hills, CEO & Founder of Hills Construction of both Boston, Massachusetts and Oakville, Ontario, Canada is a fraud. On his website, Hills Construction Inc, you’ll find a photo of a handsome man with a beard in a dark suit. Except that is not Michael Hills. That is a stolen photo of a Realtor named Colm Glass. You can find Mr. Glass’ photo on many Realty websites, such as: Realtor.com, Sotheby’s Realty, and UpNest.com.
And so it goes. We’re certain this isn’t the last time we’ll be hearing from victims of this parasite we call Mr. Harare Zimbabwe. But we will continue to track him and expose him.
At the end of July, 2020 we heard from his latest victim. He pretended to be Michael Hills of Hills Inc. Construction. You can read the details in our article: Michael Hills of Hills Construction is the Harare, Zimbabwe Love Scammer.
FOOTNOTE: We are certain that Mr. Harare Zimbabwe knows about the articles we publish about him and has used this information to make improvements to his scams. However, rather than withhold this information, we feel it is extremely important to make it public to warn the public about him.