Roberto Cazzaniga was convinced that he had a long-distance relationship with a woman named ‘Maya’, with whom he had a virtual “bond” for 15 years.
‘Maya’ made him believe that she was a supermodel, that she was in love and committed to him.
In fact, the well-known former player of the Italian volleyball team and current captain of the team from the city of Gioia Del Colle, in the south of the country, was scammed by a person who posed as a Brazilian model (and incidentally, he used photos of the, she yes, Brazilian Victoria’s Secret supermodel, Alessandra Ambrosio)
Cazzaniga, 42, explained on a television show that their “relationship” began after a mutual friend named Manuela introduced him to what he would consider to be his future “girlfriend over the phone.”
On the show “Le Iene” (The Hyenas), the player went public with his story and admitted that he had been tricked by a known scammer, resulting in tens of thousands of euros in debt.
The volleyball player sent ‘Maya’ ostentatious gifts that included a brand new Alfa Romeo Mito car and more than 700,000 euros (approximately 790,000 dollars).
In addition, Cazzaniga made transfers to him for what he believed were medical expenses to treat a heart condition.
In the program, his brother Alessandro said that “one day I was in the room, in the dark. I see him cry, I ask him what he has and he tells me that he has fallen in love but this woman is in intensive care for a heart operation and cannot go to the hospital because she would be angry. “
But, according to Alessandro and several Cazzaniga teammates, nobody believed the story much, because it seemed suspicious that they had never met the woman in question for so long.
File a complaint with the authorities
It was not easy for the player to realize the deception. For a long time he was pressured by his teammates and the team’s coach, who in the program explain that they asked Cazzaniga to confront the woman, and to find the real person behind ‘Maya’.
It took a “group intervention” from his colleagues, with a hidden camera from the show’s producers, for the man to accept the painful reality.
“I have so many debts, it is not easy to ‘wake up from a coma'”Cazzaniga said through tears after admitting that he had been the victim of a scam.
After that intervention, Cazzaniga approached the Guardia de Finanza (the Italian financial police), who informed him that he had been the victim of an elaborate scam.
The investigation showed that the person who carried out the scam was actually a woman originally from the Italian island of Sardinia, located in the Mediterranean, which local media identified as ‘Valeria’. The mutual friend, Manuela, is part of the fraud, they indicate.
According to Italian media, the case is in the hands of the prosecution, which has opened an investigation, although no formal accusations have yet been reported.
Meanwhile, there is an unsolved mystery: how is it possible to maintain a virtual relationship for so long without physically reuniting with the other person at some point? The answer may not be as simple as some will tend to think of a first observation.
“How can it happen that in fifteen years Cazzaniga has never wanted to meet in person that woman he had fallen in love with online? Is it possible that this girl never wanted to appear with her teammates or with friends?
It is a legitimate question that, however, Cazzaniga does not answer on the TV show (because no one asks him, or at least if an answer was given, it did not come out in the final version)
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15 years of virtual “relationship” with a woman who did not exist: this is how this famous athlete ended up scammed and in debt