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I was love-bombed on Hinge by Tesla-driving realtor — then he swindled me out of my life savings


Christina LaBarbiera, a Christie’s International realtor from Bergen County, New Jersey is suing her ex-boyfriend Rob Harris, alleging he conned her out of more than $70,000. He has not responded to her suit or to The Post. She tells her story to Jeanette Settembre.

He was my perfect match. Then he swindled me out of $71,640 — my life savings. Now I’m suing him for fraud.

When I matched on Hinge with Rob Harris, a blonde haired, blue-eyed 30-year-old real estate agent who worked at Real Brokerage last April, he love bombed me.


He was a real estate agent from New Jersey, like me. He was very funny, witty. We cracked jokes. He was light hearted. A family guy who loved dogs. Charming. Entrepreneurial.


His prompt that got me to message him on Hinge was: “I’ll fall in love with you if you make me laugh.” I responded, “That won’t be a problem.” I sent him my number and we continued the conversation.

The chemistry was instant and eventually, we talked about moving to Miami and putting an offer on a condo.

We were talking all day non-stop. About our jobs in real estate, about silly nostalgic things like “Sponge Bob.” I looked him up to make sure he was a real estate agent. That checked out.

He told me personal things about his life, he said, “A few girls I was talking to were taken aback by this, but I need to tell you, about a year ago, I was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, a thickened heart wall.


“Just so you know, some days I’m able to get up and go and other days I’m so exhausted because I could be sitting still and my heart is pumping at 150 beats per minute.”


My grandmother had something similar. I wasn’t going to write him off because of a heart issue.

He was helping pay his mom’s mortgage and taking care of things for his family because his stepdad was having a serious back surgery, he told me. I thought, “that’s really honorable, he stepped up to the plate as the other man in the family.”

We set a time to meet — he was going to drive into the city. Then at 7 p.m. that night I got an audio message saying: “Christina, I’m really sorry. Something is going on at the hospital I need to make sure my stepdad is okay. I’m really sorry. I do see a future here, please don’t be mad.”


I can’t be the a–hole and get mad at that.

I also had compassion for him and his situation because my mother had breast cancer, kidney cancer and a form of bone marrow cancer in the span of three years. I had to make a lot of concessions in my life. It was easy for us to connect on that level.

He was sending me NYU Langone sites about the surgery — everything he was saying was checking out.


In May, we finally went out on our first date. When we met, he opened the car door of his Tesla Model 3 for me. I thought, “What a gentleman.” We went to Catch Steak in Chelsea.

He was a very nice dresser, wearing a black T-shirt and gray jeans with a designer watch. He came off as a very sweet, nurturing guy. When I met him in person I was like, “He’s not just good on the phone, over text, he’s handsome and we have good conversation.”


On the date he said to me that he planned to move to Florida in October, and if this goes anywhere, is that something you’re open to? I said it’s funny, because I have family down there, my best friend is down there, I go back and forth as it is. I was in the process of getting a Florida real estate license. I was like, “yeah, this is synchronicity.”

Our first kiss was electric. We talked until 3 a.m. that night. He sent me an audio message that said, “I think I met the love of my life.”


The next month, he invited me to his friend’s birthday dinner. We were approaching the place and he said, “I don’t want to go. I just want to spend time with you, I haven’t seen you.” We were right in front of the restaurant. I thought it was a little weird, but we went out for dinner blocks from the place.


He didn’t want any pictures on social media because he said he wanted to keep our life private because when too many people know your business, it ruins a good thing.

On August 10, he asked me to Venmo him $501 to test if his Venmo works and promised to repay me.

Shortly after, we went to Miami where we stayed at the W Hotel in Brickell. We were both applying for our Florida real estate licenses.

He told me we’re going to have a future together. He was putting in an offer on a condo in Aventura, Florida and told me he stayed in Miami to work on building his real estate network.


On August, 21 he asked me for $1,310 to pay for a yacht charter and a restaurant, to help him build a real estate network in Miami, which isn’t out of the ordinary to spend on marketing.


Then, he asked me for $5,000 for an Airbnb and said he would pay me back – he even sent me his bank statement showing $720,000. He promised to give me $10,000 in cash the next time we saw each other.

I was getting nervous because my savings started to dwindle.

Then he drops a bombshell on me, saying he owned a house with an ex-girl friend. When they broke up things got really hairy and at one point the police were called, he said, and she was going to press charges.


Then, an hour before I was supposed to leave to fly down to Florida I get a text from him saying, ‘Houston we have a problem.’ He doesn’t answer the phone. I’m texting him non-stop. He sends me this long text saying apparently this thing with an ex was never cleared up, and they arrested me.


I said, “Why do you still have your phone? What do I do?” He said he needed bail. He asked me for $12,000. I wired him the money.

It turns out he was never arrested and the money went to the Airbnb. I went to the police department in October, they said basically what you have is credit card fraud.

When I tried to serve him the court docs, I found out he had been living with another girl in New Jersey the whole time. She said he moved to Miami!


I’m more cautious these days when it comes to dating. I’m single and haven’t been active on Hinge since this experience. I’m meeting people organically or through friends.


I remember watching the Tinder Swindler [Israeli conman Simon Leviev] documentary and every time he asked for money he made himself sound like he was in danger and these women were doing whatever they could to help.

He created urgency or chaos – Rob did the same exact thing to me.


Resource: NY Times



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