Published 2022-02-18
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Volleyball Player In Enormous Debt After Being Scammed. Why Did He Think He Was Dating Victoria Secret's Model?

With technology (and scammers) getting more advanced each year, sometimes even the most vigilant people can fall victims to some scam. Yet at other times these scams started so long ago, and the victims believed it all that the idea of a scam never occurred to them. Especially when it comes to catfishing. This is exactly what happened to an Italian volleyball team captain who for 15 years believed he was dating a Brazilian model and as a result was left with debts in the hundred thousands. What exactly happened? How did the two even meet? And just how did the scammer manage to fool the man for so long? Read on to find out.

What’s Catfishing?

For those of you who might not be aware of the term, or who have never watched MTV’s Catfish show hosted by Nev Schulman and Max Joseph, we’ll give you a quick explanation of the term. As the situation the volleyball player had found himself in didn’t give it away, the word “catfishing” refers to an action where someone pretends to be someone else online, assuming a false identity. Though it is worth pointing out that does not always end with someone being scammed out of money, however, a popular case where that happened has been a basis of a brand new Netflix documentary The Tinder Swindler. If you want to know more about then you can check out the video below. But to find out how this athlete was scammed for 15 years, read on until the very end.

Who Is The Victim?

The man who was catfished for such a long time is 42-year-old Roberto Cazzaniga. He is a well-known professional volleyball player from Milan. According to local media, he is the current captain of the Gioia Del Colle club. His career had begun in 1995 in the youth teams of Pro Victoria Monza. In the ‘95-’967 season he was promoted to the first team, where he remained for four years reaching the Serie B2 championships. It was in 2000 that he began his professional career in Milan in Serie A1.

Meeting Maya

It was 2008 when the volleyball player was introduced to a girl on social media. Her name was Maya, who was allegedly a Brazilian model. According to reports from local media, the two were introduced to each other online by a mutual friend named Manuela. The reports also alleged that the two actually met over the phone with a conversation. But did the man never realize that something was wrong? Read on to find out.

Start Of A Relationship

The man told his story on an Italian talk show called La Lene. As he said, after first being introduced to Maya they used to talk, and from the photos, she had sent him, he thought she was beautiful and that he had lucked out. And so, Cazzaniga plunged his heart into this long-distance relationship which went on for 15 years without the two ever having met. They usually spoke on the phone or via social media.

Who Is Maya?

As we had said, Maya was an alleged model from Brazil, but in reality, the photo’s the man was receiving were of Brazilian supermodel Alessandra Ambrosio most famous for being a Victoria's Secret 'Angel' from 2004-2017. Though it seemed that never having met or chatted via a video call was not an issue, as according to local media, Robert and Maya had gotten engaged. But soon enough things were about to take a very dark turn for the man. What exactly happened? Read on to find out.

Soon She Began Asking For Money

As their relationship began to progress, Roberto began sending his girlfriend lavish gifts, one of which had included a brand new Alfa Romeo Mino. Though that is not where this scam ends. Soon the woman had asked him for help to fund her medical expenses which were intended to treat a heart condition. In order to help her with that, the man had revealed he has taken out loans which had left him with 700,000 euros in debt (which is just under $800,000).

How Did The Truth Come To Light?

15 years, is a long time to be in a relationship with someone without not having met them or even chatted with them through a video call. And as it turns out the people close to Cazzaniga thought the same. His friends and teammates had pressured him to look deeper into the story and so he shared his story with the Italian authorities. They, as you can imagine, did not have any good news for him as it was revealed that he had fallen victim to an elaborate scam.

Brother Speaks Out

Since the news was made public Roberto’s brother Danilo had spoken out about how they were all fooled and how his brother had really loved the woman he believed to have been Maya. He said that one day he saw his brother sitting in the dark and crying after he learned that this beautiful woman that he had loved was allegedly in the ICU and was being prepped to undergo a cardiac operation. Speaking on the Italian talk show about it himself, Cazzaniga said in tears that it was difficult to face reality, as if “waking up from a coma”.

Who Really Was Maya?

According to local media reports, the investigation into the situation is still underway. It has been alleged that the man’s friend Manuela had helped orchestrate this scam with her boyfriend and another woman. But who exactly was the woman? Italian media reported that she is allegedly called Valeria and that she is from Sardinia, a tiny Italian island in the Mediterranean. When she was questioned by the media about her involvement she had denied it all and claimed to have been a friend of Maya. Once the press had asked her why she had been identified as the recipient of Cazzaniga’s money she avoided giving a straight answer, instead claiming that no matter what answer she gave, nobody would believe her anyway.

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