A few dates ended up costing a local woman $50K — and trauma for years

Plenty of people have gone out with someone a few times, only to figure out the relationship wasn’t for them. Most of the time, those involved move on.

But a local woman’s attempts to do just that were met with a barrage of spoofed calls, texts and emails — both to her and her loved ones — not to mention a torrent of emotional trauma and stress, which she said led her to spend more than $50,000 of her own money out of fear for her safety and security.

Last week, Richard Michael Roe was indicted in a federal court.

Roe lives in New York, and in 2018, he met a woman from the D.C. area through an online dating site. They went out a few times and then went their separate ways. In late 2019, the victim met a new boyfriend, her now-husband.

An indictment released in federal court shows that triggered a massive response from Roe, prompting the victim to cut off contact. Roe is alleged to have used spoof phone call services meant to make lighthearted pranks. The feds said he also called Montgomery County police, as well as authorities in other jurisdictions, to complain about the victim, and tried to create a paper trail that made it look like he was the victim.

“My review of thousands of text messages sent by Roe using spoofed telephone numbers assigned to him showed Roe usually referred to himself in the third person,” said the FBI agent who investigated the case in the charging documents. “I believe Roe did this to mislead law enforcement into believing he did not send the harassing messages.”

And it continued for months, with thousands of messages sent via text and phone calls aimed at her, her roommate, mother, aunt and boyfriend, according to the indictment.

Roe is alleged to have harassed the victim and her boyfriend’s employers too, causing so much trauma and anxiety that when her father died, a relative who is a police officer was asked to stand watch in the back of the church.

The feds said he also tried to hack into her phone and social media accounts, but he wasn’t successful.

“Roe’s attempts to gain access to her electronic device without her consent served Roe’s intent of causing (the victim) further emotional distress. Indeed, in an interview with the FBI, V1 told investigators she was not comfortable using her electronic devices and believed that given Roe’s knowledge related to her life, Roe may have had access to her devices,” the indictment said.

Ultimately, the victim told investigators she spent more than $50,000 to “defend and protect herself” from Roe. Her former roommate talked about needing therapy and ultimately changing her phone number after she believed Roe tried to access her accounts, too.

Roe was arrested last month and indicted last week. Terms of his release stipulate that he needs approval to travel to Maryland, where he has family, as well as anywhere else in the D.C. area. Even then, Roe must also avoid contact with any of the victims.

In the meantime, the FBI’s Baltimore Field Office, which handles all cases that originate in Maryland, is looking to identify any more potential victims who may have been harassed by Roe. In particular, the feeling is that those victims could be in Maryland, New York and the Miami area.

Anyone who may have been harassed by him is asked to email the FBI.

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John Domen

John started working at WTOP in 2016 after having grown up in Maryland listening to the station as a child. While he got his on-air start at small stations in Pennsylvania and Delaware, he's spent most of his career in the D.C. area, having been heard on several local stations before coming to WTOP.

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