David Sartin, 49, says that he fell in love with Elena Barykina in 2009 and was set to marry the Ukrainian beauty. Over the course of two years the smitten Texan gave Barykina gifts of cash and jewels, and visited her in Ukraine half a dozen times, only to discover that she was scamming him. Barykina, it seems, made a living bewitching and fleecing unsuspecting lonely men. She even has a web site. In 2011 Sartin wrote to InternetScamsWatch.com saying, “I have learned that all during this two years I have been sending her money by wire transfer as she as requested she is also doing the same to many other men. It was all a fraud from the beginning.” Sartin, who claimed to have spent $57,000 on Barykina, before discovering that she had a boyfriend added, “My first thought upon arriving back home was to put an end to myself, but I was feared of not hitting the right spot and the pain would be bad.” Ironically, the money he squandered on Barykina seems to have come from a $400,000 payout he got from his ex-wife, Betty Sartin, who told reporters that she had split her retirement fund with him, “I was 13 years older than him, and he played me for a fool. Now he’s met somebody a little smarter than him.”
Having ruled out suicide, Sartin settled on the next best thing: revenge in the form of a slow and painful murder. According to the Houston Chronicle, in 2011 he decided to hire a hit man to abduct Barykina, put her in a crate and ship it to the U.S. From there he planned to hold her prisoner for at least a week in a fortress-like addition he started building onto his trailer on March 6, 2012. Her death would be a slow and painful one caused by lead poisoning. He even considered eliminating her boyfriend. Luckily, instead of a real hit man, Sartin contacted and undercover agent of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, whose recordings of their conversations led to his arrest. On March 23 Sartin arrived at a parking lot in Beaumont, Texas, with $25,000, handcuffs, a stun gun and a handgun. He was arrested and charged with attempted kidnapping and brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence. On August 20 he pleaded guilty and awaits sentencing. He faces up to 25 years in prison.