Man who bilked lonely women given 24-year prison term

DALLAS -- A man prosecutors labelled the 'Sweetheart Swindler' was sentenced to a 24 year prison term after he was convicted of stealing as much as $40,000 from women he claimed loved him.

Alfred F. Barakett, 52, was accused of taking the money from at least 13 women he wooed in 10 states. He sought out the women through personal ads and singles groups.


'The women I had love affairs with gave the money,' said Barakett, who claimed his appeal to women was 'a gift of God.' He said he left his lovers because he did not want to hurt them.

Barakett, a Canadian citizen, was arrested when one of his victims tracked him down in Dallas. He used hundreds of aliases in his cross- country ventures.

Prosecutors said after he had gained his victim's trust, Barakett would ask her to cash a check for him, usually a business or personal check stolen from a previous lover.

The resident of Three Rivers, Quebec, claimed the women with whom he had love affairs gave him the money because he is 'kind and considerate' and treats women like queens.

Barakett said he had owned three stores in Ottawa but went bankrupt. He was convicted of fraud and served 14 months in prison. On his release, he began to travel and meet women in the United States.


After the jury convicted Barakett, U.S. District Judge Jerry Buchmeyer gave him a 24-year prison sentence Friday.

'He was making his livlihood by traveling around the United States defrauding not just females, but banks,' Buchmeyer said. 'I have no doubt that he will continue his criminal activity once he serves his term.'

The judge ordered Barakett to be returned to Canada after he is released from prison and to pay $8,940 in restitution to two victims.

Barakett vowed to appeal, and said he would win.

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