St. Joseph County, Ind. A St. Joseph County Clerk’s office employee faces felony charges after police say she scammed women out of thousands of dollars as part of an elaborate catfishing scheme.
44-year-old Kim Savage is charged with two counts of theft, both Class D felonies.
She was booked into the St. Joseph County Jail Thursday afternoon, where she is being held on $30,000 bond.
According to court documents, Savage hid behind a keyboard for years, coaxing money out of two women.
She created two online personas – ‘Chad Montbriand’ and ‘Neil Santori’ – as part of the hoax.
Savage initiated contact by telling the victims the men were interested in them. She then pretended to be Montbriand and Santori while communicating with the women through online messages and blocked phone calls.
The victims were told the men were U.S. Marines serving overseas in covert operations and they needed money for protective gear.
When the women agreed to help, Savage told them to deposit the money in her bank account and she would wire it overseas.
Police have bank records showing both women contributed large amounts of money to Savage’s account. One told investigators she started doing so in 2006, the other in 2011.
But, eventually, the women grew suspicious and contacted police in October 2013.
Police contacted the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and discovered no one named Chad Montbriand or Neil Santori served in the Marines.
They also looked into a 2011 accident after one of the women said she was talking to Montbriand when he got into a crash at that time. She told police she thought she heard Savage’s voice, which was impossible because Montbriand was supposed to be serving in Afghanistan.
Police discovered Savage had been in a car accident at the time the witness thought she was talking to Montbriand. The crash report showed Savage as the only person inside the car.
Charging documents say Savage admitted to the elaborate scam when investigators questioned her. She said she planned on using all of the money for herself.