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September 21, 2017

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Petraeus imposter linked to bizarre check fraud

It all sounded too good to be true. A Taiwanese engineer met a man claiming to be the newly sworn-in Director of the Central Intelligence Agency David Petraeus on the Internet four months ago. The 4-star general asked for her hand recently and vowed to marry her "even if it will start World War III." He promised to fly to Taipei on a U.S. military plane to take her back to the U.S. He asked little from her — just to wire him money for fuel expenses and to help him cash some paychecks from the recent campaign that toppled the Col. Moammar Gadhafi of Libya.

The only problems are that the U.S. is mostly not involved in the military campaigns in Libya and that Petraeus is already married.

Liu Hsu-jen, who claimed to have recently resigned from her post as a managing engineer at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, was arrested on Thursday for using 37 forged CitiBank travelers' checks worth 500 euros each. Liu told the authorities that the checks came from her fiance David Howell Petraeus, who served as the top commander for the U.S. military in the Afghanistan War and recently for the military action in Libya, and is now the chief of the CIA.

The checks were sent to her from the man claiming to be Petraeus as collateral after Liu's wired him a total of US$30,000 for fuel expenses of an alleged U.S. military plane's flight to Taipei. He also sent her a wedding ring.

Liu said she had her doubts but was reassured after having online video conference with him. Footages of the web conferences showed a man with a striking resemblance to Petraeus. Liu said she also found details the man provided to "match perfectly" with public CIA information and therefore firmly believed in her fiance's identity, the Liberty Times reported yesterday.

However, the U.S. is not involved actively in the NATO air raids on Libya and the U.S. is unlikely to assign Gen. Petraeus, who was sworn in as CIA head on Sept. 6, as chief officer in Libya as the man had claimed.

The court first demanded bail of NT$200,000 for Liu but later allowed the woman to leave on NT$90,000 bail as she had less than NT$100,000 in her bank account.

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