Romantic cons are on the upswing — and even one TV actress couldn't prevent herself from falling for one. Jenifer Lewis, 63, who plays Ruby in the hit ABC comedy series "Black-ish" has revealed that she was bilked by a man she met at the gym and is coming forward with her story in the hopes of educating others.
"I went public because my hope was to raise awareness that if this can happen to me, it can happen to you," Lewis said in a video posted to Instagram.
Lewis said she met the serial con artist, Antonio Mariot Wilson, at a Los Angeles L.A. Fitness, where he reportedly worked as a manager. The two seemed to hit it off and she says they started dating.
According to Lewis, Wilson claimed to be an Oscar winner, a Navy Seal, an Oxford University graduate and a professor at UCLA. Over the next three months, he persuaded her to invest in a film project that turned out to be totally fake.
Police say it was all part of a scam, and Wilson has since pleaded guilty to wire fraud. Three other women were also swindled by Wilson for a total of nearly $400,000.
"Sometimes justice does prevail," Lewis said in the Instagram video.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, there are more than 21,000 reports per year of so-called romance scams, costing people $143 million.