Orange County, CA Doctor Scammed for $3 Million

Think only the uneducated can be caught in a criminal’s web? Hardly…

This is the sad story of “The Doctor” and “The General.” The doctor, in this case, is an internationally recognized psychiatrist, 89 year-old Dr. Louis A. Gottschalk. The general is a anonymous figure Dr. Gottschalk met in Nigeria known only as “The General.”

According to papers filed by his son, Dr. Gottschalk has been a ten year victim of a Nigerian Advanced Fee Scam, losing up to $3,000,000. Like the last victim we talked about, Dr. Gottschalk is also accused of destroying bank records in order to hide the crime. Understandably, his son is trying to wrest control of the family partnership before more money is lost to the criminals.

Gottschalk was first contacted in 1995 by Nigerian fraudsters. He traveled to Nigeria and Amsterdam to “show them that he was sincere so he would get the money.” Early on, he admitted to his family that he had given “The General” $300,000. After being convinced he was being conned, he promised not to give any more money.

Nigerian Email Scam
Dr. Louis Gottschalk, Nigerian Scam Victim

Unfortunately, time passed and Dr. Gottschalk continued to send money to his “partners” in Nigeria.

Why would someone do that – especially someone as educated as Dr. Gottschalk? Here’s one assessment from Anthony Pratkanis, a fraud expert from UC Santa Cruz:

“There’s a line that gets crossed when they send in the money and then they’re caught in a rationalization trap,” Pratkanis said. “One way to convince yourself the scam is for real is to send more money, ironically enough.”

Makes sense to me. Evidently it made sense to Dr. Gottschalk as well. When asked by his son as late as October 2005 about the money, he replied:

“Don’t worry, everything will be all right on Thursday because I will be getting $20 million.”

Dreams die hard, don’t they? Here’s a link to the whole story from KTLA.

Author: Dave Nielsen

I started using computers in 1978 on the Apple II and was first online (using my “high-speed” 1200 baud modem) in 1989. I’ve managed web sites for several Fortune 500 companies and for internet start-ups. Working for one of those start-ups is what brought me into the world of credit. I was part of the the executive team that ran QSpace, the first company to offer credit reports over the internet.

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