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Stripper Showered with Stolen Bucks

Bermuda- A small-town Georgia woman who scraped a living as an exotic dancer, Teketa Thompkins’ life changed dramatically after meeting Harrison Isaac Jr.

But the whirlwind romance she enjoyed with “the first wealthy person I ever dated” turned sour when authorities discovered the money he showered her with was stolen.

And as she faced criminal charges, Thompkins discovered her fiancé was a love-cheat, who was engaged at the same time to her best friend.

On Monday Thompkins was found guilty of a $1.4m fraud against the Bermuda Government following a two week trial in New York, the venue of the looted account.

Last August Isaac pleaded guilty to siphoning off $2m from Government and was jailed for four and a half years at a court in New York. During the Thompkins case, the jury heard the pair met when Isaac – presenting himself as a wealthy accountant and businessman – chose Thompkins to pose for his swimwear calendar. He whisked her away from her Atlanta ‘adult entertainment’ bar job to all-expenses-paid luxury in Bermuda.

Recalling the partying that went on during this first trip to the Island in summer 2003, Thompkins said: “A photo shoot took place. We got to go on a yacht and to different restaurants. We went to this really big hotel where everybody had their own room and masseuse”.

And Thompkins – who told jurors past boyfriends were physically and emotionally abusive – was taken aback when Isaac offered to end her financial woes by paying off her $70,000 mortgage.

“He asked for banking and financial information. I wrote down my name, I wrote down everything – my nickname, my Dad’s name, my address,” she recalled of her eager reaction to news her money worries were over.

The pair quickly became romantically involved, and at some point during that heady first trip to Bermuda, Thompkins became embroiled in her boyfriend’s fraud scheme.

Throughout her trial she steadfastly denied knowing that the $1.4 million he wired her from the Government of Bermuda was stolen. Indeed, she claimed she had never heard of money laundering before the court case, and was unaware there was anything illegal in smuggling $26,000 through Bermuda airport to Isaac hidden in her underwear.But as Isaac carried on defrauding the Government – to the tune of $2 million – she spent wads of the cash flooding into her bank accounts on enjoying a life of luxury.

As she described their January 2004 engagement, it was clear Isaac went all-out to impress her with what money could do. “We stayed at a cottage at Elbow Beach resort and got dressed up. He had me dressed up in an evening gown. We went to the Seahorse Grill, we had wine, and he proposed,” she said.

But it was not to be. Isaac admitted that he saw Thompkins as a vulnerable woman, and when she confessed her mortgage problems he spied an opportunity to use her bank accounts to draw attention away from his criminal scheme.

“I had established a relationship with her, a romantic one, and I took advantage of that,” he confessed in court – claiming she had no idea the money was stolen.

After the jury heard how Isaac romanced her, Thompkins gave jurors a further example of his duplicity. She said she found out during the legal proceedings that Isaac was engaged at the time of their romance to two other women – one of them her (now former) best friend and roommate. “I was shocked,” she said.

As both she and Isaac became the focus of a major criminal investigation, she told an FBI officer the engagement was over.

Despite this, Isaac gave evidence in Thompkins’ defence and told the court he still loves her.

“I’m going to love her for the rest of my life … I’m ashamed of what I done” he told Assistant US Assistant Attorney Nicholas Goldin. Isaac’s testimony was the first time Thompkins had set eyes on her former lover since his arrest in April 2004 – but she remained blank-faced throughout.

She never reacted as Mr. Goldin read some of the 13-plus love letters Isaac has since written to her, although Isaac clearly resented them being made public.

“I will never stop loving you!” said one, while another told Thompkins they would have lots of babies together.”Dearest, my darling, my sweetheart, my love” began another missive from Isaac, who also wrote: “Flesh of my flesh, bone of my bone. We are one!”.

But while he was telling her “I love you and I miss you,” his silken words were falling on deaf ears. Asked by her lawyer Paul Madden if she responded to Isaac’s letters and telephone calls, Thompkins said she had not. “I recorded messages he had left on my voicemail. A copy was turned over to the Government,” she added.

Since being arrested over the swindle, Thompkins has returned to living an ordinary life in Georgia, where she works long hours as a clerk at a distribution centre.

She has a ten-month-old son, with another baby due soon – neither fathered by Isaac – and lives at home with her parents.

And thanks to her involvement in the fraud that allowed her to live the life of a wealthy woman for a while, she now faces a jail sentence when she returns to court next year.
 

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