Michael Bellah. (Photo source: Dallas Voice via Facebook)
The next time you’re in Dallas, watch out for this dude.
Grindr user Michael Bellah has been accused of scamming men he meets on Grindr out of money. At least two guys claim he’s cheated them out of hundreds of dollars.
Robert Blake is a divorced father and retired member of the U.S. Air Force. He alleges he met Bellah on Grindr earlier this year.
“We chatted for a while and eventually we met and had dinner,” he told the Dallas Voice.
When dinnertime rolled around, Bellah was late. Really late. He didn’t arrive until 10:30 p.m., claiming he had a flat tire. The two men went out to dinner anyway.
During the meal, Bellah lamented to Blake that he needed $100 to pay back the tire store manager by the next day. But not just that. He also said he was stressed out because he owed his ex-wife money for school supplies, and he was strapped for cash because the payroll department at his company was “messed up.”
Needless to say, “I paid for dinner,” Blake said.
Despite everything, Blake told the Dallas Voice that he and Bellah still hit it off, in part because Bellah claimed that he, too, had served in the Air Force.
“Being a divorced gay dad that lost everything when I came out, I knew what it was like to struggle to make ends meet,” Blake said. “I felt sorry for him, and gave him a check for $250 as a loan.”
When Blake followed up with Bellah about getting repaid, he claims the man always had an excuse for why he couldn’t get together.
“This was also a bad life lesson that I learned the hard way,” Blake told the Dallas Voice.
Weeks later, Blake was having lunch with his friend John (not his real name) from church. He recounted the story about Bellah.
“Interesting,” John replied. “I met him on Scruff about a year and a half ago.”
John went on to allege how Bellah had told him that his kids were having “medical issues” and that he asked him to do a Facebook fundraiser for him.
“I got six friends to donate a total of about $300,” John said.
In hindsight, he added, he should have known better when Bellah refused to advertise the fundraiser on his own Facebook page.
A few weeks later, Bellah once again hit up John for money. Being a good-hearted, church-going fella, John wrote him a check for $275. The money was intended to be a loan.
“That’s when problems started,” John said.
When John inquired about when Bellah might repay him, he claims Bellah got angry and said he never should have given him the money if he couldn’t afford it. Then he stopped answering John’s calls.
Blake says he knows of at least one other person who Bellah allegedly tried scamming.
“I have another friend that lived in south Arlington that Michael approached and asked for $500,” he told the Dallas Voice. “My friend is a little brash and told him to f-off.”
The Dallas Voice says it contacted Bellah via Facebook for comment. In a Facebook message, he replied that he was “not discussing my personal business with someone I do not know. If you would like to present facts of these allegations I will be happy to discuss them with you.” He provided a phone number, however, but did not respond to messages.
Moral of the story: Don’t give money out to random people you meet on Grindr.
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Graham Gremore is a columnist and contributor for Queerty and Life of the Law. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.