|Subject: one of the lost cons
ha ha ha
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Date Posted: 09:52:56 03/14/07 Wed
Online hookup horror
INTERNET DATE ALLEGEDLY DEFRAUDS ONE BOSTON GAY DOCTOR OF TENS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS, RESULTS IN MEDICAL LICENSE SUSPENSION, JOB LOSS, DIGNITY; TRIGGERS NIGHTMARE LEGAL PROCESS; OTHERS FALL FOR SAME CON
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On the night of April 25, 2005, Joseph E. Kalinowski logged into his Manhunt.net account and searched for a potential partner. One of the best-looking options was "Aaron Snyder," who said he was a doctor, lawyer, member of a secret black ops military unit fresh from Iraq, steer wrangler, police officer, and the heir to a family fortune.
He was looking to chat with cool guys, go out on dates, and would consider no-strings-attached sex - "Nature does call now and then," reads his profile - but what he wanted more than anything else was a life partner, the same as Kalinowski.
But this was not true. Snyder exists only in cyberspace. His real name is Zachary Hildreth. Hildreth is none of these things.
There were five pictures attached to the profile. The faces in the photos were either blacked out or cropped out, which kept Kalinowski from realizing that the men in the pictures and the man at the other end of the Internet connection were not the same.
He was also not, as he described in his profile, 35, 6'3", 210 pounds. Hildreth is actually 43, according to court records from Mass. Attorney General Thomas Reilly's office, and is 6'1", and 230 pounds, according to Kalinowski.
During a two-hour exclusive interview with In Newsweekly, Kalinowski, 42, repeatedly admitted the warning signs were there had he only been more aware. He believes, today, that Hildreth only acted the part of a gay man to swindle him out of tens of thousands of dollars. The fact that Hildreth didn't look much like his pictures didn't matter much to Kalinowski since Hildreth knew how to play the part.
From the beginning, words didn't match actualities
"When he came over for our first date, he walked into my home and kissed me on the mouth," described Kalinowski. "He wasn't as good-looking in person as he was in his pictures, but I just thought the pictures were older than he had said and that he had put on a few extra pounds. It wasn't that big of a deal, really."
The two men started casually dating and then more seriously. Ultimately, Hildreth moved into Kalinowski's home, who never questioned why Hildreth never paid for anything. They were laying the groundwork for a future together including having children. Another of Hildreth's promises included the use of eggs extracted from a former model and frozen for Hildreth to one day fertilize.
Kalinowski said he discovered after their relationship ended last year that nothing Hildreth said was true. But that's what he does, says Kalinowski, Hildreth tells people what they want to hear in order to get what he wants, and what he wants more than anything is money. Lots and lots of money. But he has a history of doing it illegally.
Of the last 19 years, Hildreth has spent 12 in correctional institutions. The first time was in 1987 when he was 24. He was charged with 11 counts of felony larceny, stemming from what prosecutors called a plan to steal more than $500,000 from six investors in a Web-based company. He was calling himself "Tex" at the time. And according to Dedham Superior Court records, in September 2002, Hildreth was sentenced to three years in state prison for stealing $179,645 from three "clients" in 1997 while posing as a Web site designer. He was later released on parole a few weeks before meeting Kalinowski.
Richard Rand, a private investigator Kalinowski hired to investigate Hildreth, discovered this. Rand also discovered the names of other men Hildreth has conned, including two with whom Hildreth became "involved" in 1997. According to the alleged victims, who this week spoke separately to In Newsweekly on the condition of anonymity, Hildreth stole money from both, charged $70,000 in purchases with one of their credit cards, and when confronted about it Hildreth turned violent and abusive. After the relationships ended, one of the men said he went door-to-door in the South End looking for other victims. He says he found seven others.
In bizarre twist, Hildreth takes Kalinowski to court
These two men are testifying on behalf of Kalinowski when a criminal case brought against him by Hildreth begins on Dec. 7.
That's right, Hildreth is suing Kalinowski.
Hildreth mounted a legal challenge against Kalinowski before Kalinowski knew what was coming.
Hildreth is accusing Kalinowski of, among other things, pushing him down a flight of stairs and raping him. Hildreth wants damages in the amount of $450,000. Kalinowski declined to talk on the record about what will form the crux of his defense. Similarly, Norfolk District Attorney William R. Keating, whose office is representing Hildreth's interests in the criminal case, would not comment on ongoing legal proceedings, said David Traub, spokesman for Keating's office.
Kalinowski is waiting for the first trial to conclude before considering any counter suit.
Repercussions for gay cruisers
Kalinowski still has trouble sleeping through the night, he said. He hasn't dated anyone since Hildreth and has cancelled his memberships to Manhunt.net and Gay.com. He wishes they did more policing of member identities but acknowledges the difficulty in doing so. Manhunt.net Director of Marketing Phil Hendricks separately agreed that policing the identities of the Web site's users would be impossible.
"One of our strongest features is the anonymity of the site. There are many married members and closeted members and members in 'monogamous' relationships," said Hendricks during a telephone interview. "The fact that you can do this with anonymity is something that the overwhelming majority of our members appreciate."
Signing up for Manhunt (and even Gay.com) doesn't require much more than an e-mail address and a photograph, both of which are easy to fake.
What Manhunt, and by extension Hendricks, recommends is that when letting someone in your house "it's always wise to be cautious."
Hendricks offers advice on how to do that. "And one of the things we encourage our members to do is let us know [when incidents like this] happen, because our members definitely help us police the site," said Hendricks. "Without them, there probably would be a lot more unfortunate activity on the site."
Kalinowski did complain, and though the profile was taken down from both sites for a while, it was soon back up.
"I'm not angry anymore," said Kalinowski, despite having his medical license suspended by the state Board of Registration in medicine and reading a scathing report about his relationship in the Patriot Ledger. Kalinowski denies the accusations saying he acted in self defense.
"Weymouth doctor Joseph E. Kalinowski was allegedly obsessed with space aliens, drank heavily and pumped himself full of human growth hormone to fight infection and aging," wrote Patriot Ledger reporter Dennis Tatz. "Now he faces charges that he nearly killed his live-in boyfriend by slashing the man's neck with a shard of glass."
Tatz neither asked Kalinowski to verify the details of the story nor did he print Hildreth's name. He did effectively out Kalinowski, report on the decision by Brockton Hospital to not renew Kalinowsi's contract, and the one night Kalinowski spent in jail.
But in preparing for his court date, Kalinowski is also preparing to move on.
"Sure, I'm concerned about making sure that he can't do to anyone else what he did to me," he says, "but really I just pity him."
As of Nov. 29, Hildreth's Gay.com ad, "BostonMuscle1," was active, though his last log in with that screen name was in February. The profile includes a picture of a man wearing only blue hospital scrubs. Kalinowski says the picture is of him from a few years ago. According to the profile, "BostonMuscle1" is a "doc." •
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