A Texas City woman claims in a civil lawsuit to have lost $200,000 to a man she met via e-mail who persuaded her to back him in a house-flipping venture.
|Jan Merklin: Those who've met him through dozens of dating sites say to beware.|
The suit, filed by attorney Russell Plackemeier of Texas City, states that 55-year-old Jan Merklin met his client -- "Shelly" -- via e-mail on February 13 of this year and immediately proposed that the two of them pursue a house-flipping venture together.
A month later, Shelly drove to Schulenburg to meet Merklin. There, according to the suit, Merklin presented himself as a very experienced contractor and an expert in real estate. He assured Shelly that her golden years would be that much more golden if she would only spot him a little cash -- $200,000 to be exact. Just to get him off his feet and get the ball rolling on their joint venture, he continued. Once the cash started pouring in, she would get all that back and then some.
The rest of March and April passed. According to the suit, Merklin continued pestering a reluctant Shelly, until, on May 4, she signed a business agreement with Merklin. Merklin assured her it was an industry-standard document, the suit says.
That very day, Shelly wired $200,000 from her personal bank account into a joint account she shared with Merklin. More »