The 67-year-old conman who reportedly posed as a 51-year-old doctor “only targeted successful single, widowed or divorced women in their late 40s” online.
Bibhu Prakash Swain, who allegedly married and conned at least 18 women across India, has been arrested by Indian authorities weeks before his next two weddings.
The unusually small 67-year-old conman scoured marriage websites posing as a 51-year-old doctor and persuaded professors, lawyers, medics and a paramilitary officer to tie the knot, Indian police said.
"He primarily did this for their money, and some sexual pleasure," senior police official Sanjiv Satpathy said. His team arrested Swain in recent days after months on his trail.
"He was always very persuasive," Satpathy said, "and only targeted successful single, widowed or divorced women in their late 40s."
In status-conscious India he claimed he was on a chunky salary, and used fake identification cards and appointment letters to bolster his credentials and family background.
A few "happy and satisfying days into the marriage", the police said, Swain used to make excuses to borrow his new wives' money or jewellery to help him with an emergency. He then moved on to his next target.
The 'Tinder Swindler' scammed approximately $10 million from a group of women. But he's not the only one pic.twitter.com/k3UxXJGbX6— TRT World (@trtworld) February 11, 2022
'No Don Juan'
Investigators believe Swain married more than 18 times and are now going through his mobile phone where he saved his wives' contacts -- as Madam Delhi, Madam Assam, etc. -- named after the places in India where they stayed.
Police launched a probe into Swain's multiple lives in May 2021 after a complaint by one 48-year-old wife who, by chance, discovered that he was already married to at least seven other women.
Swain, born in a small village in the eastern state of Odisha, first married in 1978 and has three children, two of them doctors and one a dentist, with his first wife.
Trained as a lab technician, he fell out with his family and moved to the state capital Bhubaneshwar where he started introducing himself as a doctor and ultimately married a doctor, his second wife, in 2002.
"He has since used multiple names but always introduced himself as doctor or a professor while looking for wives online," Satpathy said.
The Hindustan Times newspaper described him as "no Don Juan", saying he stood just five feet, 1.6 metres (two inches) tall, and reported that he married at least 27 women in 10 states.
The police doubt his ruses were a one-man job and are looking for people who helped him with his elaborate setups and moved his money from one place to another.
For good measure he also allegedly defrauded 13 banks out of $135,000 (10 million rupees) with 128 forged credit cards, and ran a chain of medical labs where doctors and other staff went for months without pay, the paper said.