Chris Forte's parents Tony and Gill are the sort of people who would hand over every last penny of their retirement pot to their children rather than witness them struggling.
When Chris, their only son, fell in love with and married a pretty young woman he met at work, they extended that selflessness to her.
"They adored her," he says. "I have three sisters and they came to see her as another daughter. They would have done anything for her."
And, oh, how they did. When Indonesian-born Juliana Posman (whom they knew affectionately as Lia) confided in her in-laws — very distant relatives of the Forte hotel dynasty — that she needed money to help with some visa issues, they didn't hesitate to help, reports Daily Mail.
"She told them she needed to show the immigration people that she had considerable assets in her bank account," says Chris.
"She said the minute the visa got sorted, they would get their money back. They believed her. We all did." How were they to know that the £130,000 ($252,000) they eventually transferred would not be returned? How were they to know that their sweet and seemingly innocent daughter-in-law was actually a gambling addict whose trail of destruction would only be discovered when she had lost a total of £3.5 million? ($6.7M)
Today, Chris says he can't decide whether his now ex-wife — outwardly a respected professional with a business degree — was a con-artist or a deeply disturbed individual.
"Sometimes I think she was a sociopath. How could she do that to my parents, who had only ever shown her love?" he says. "She fleeced them of their retirement fund. They were going to travel with that money."
Tony and Gill Forte sent all their children to private schools. Chris was a boarder at Lancing College (where fees today are £11,645 a term ($22,579) ) but despite this and the Forte name, they were by no means millionaires.
"Before he retired three years ago, my dad ran an industrial bakery. Mum was a teacher," says Chris. "They were comfortably off but not rich. But when Grandma, my mum's mum, died in January 2015, they got an inheritance. Now it's gone, every penny."
Does he blame himself? Of course he does. "I am wracked with guilt. I brought her into my family and she did her best to ruin us all."
Chris claims his mum and dad, both aged 68, have been left distraught, as much by the betrayal as the financial loss.
He has lost everything, too. During their marriage the high-flying pair — at one point Lia, now 38, was earning £90,000 ($174,511) a year — had a lavish lifestyle, paying £2,000 ($3,878) a month rent on a flat in Balham, South London.
He flicks through his phone, reminding himself of the chronology of their holidays: Taipei, then Malta, Spain, Croatia.
When they got married they had not one but two weddings — a £20,000 ($38,780) bash at the high-end Grosvenor Hotel in London, then another on a clifftop in Indonesia, followed by a honeymoon in Bali.
Now, at 36, he is penniless and staying with friends, teaching English and fretting about having to find £600 ($1,163) a month to cover the credit card bills. "All the debt, I ran up for her. I wanted to help and protect her.
"I was a mug. She fleeced me of all my savings. I sold my Premium Bonds. I even changed job because I couldn't deal with a high-stress sales job when I was having a high-stress time at home. I wasn't strong enough," says Chris.
The story of this £3.5 million gambling saga, which emerged this week, seems incredible.
And the Fortes weren't the only victims of Lia's dishonesty. Two other acquaintances were later to come out of the woodwork, having handed over far greater sums — that Lia gambled away at the click of a button.
The whole astonishing story began in 2011 when Chris, then working for an IT firm in Egham, Surrey, met Lia, who had just joined the company.
He was smitten from the start, entranced by her looks and ambition. She had arrived in London aged 20.
"No one moves from one side of the world to the other for work without having something about them," he says. Within a few months he had taken her home to meet his parents, who "absolutely adored her".
"People do," he points out. "She's smiley, chatty, warm. She's tiny, too, and has this vulnerability about her. She's someone you want to protect." In the early days, anyway, he was convinced that Lia needed protecting. "There was an ex-boyfriend who appeared quite early on," Chris admits. "He claimed Lia owed him £12,000 ($23,268). He contacted me, said she was crazy. At the time I thought he was the lunatic."
The first hint of gambling issues came quickly in the relationship.
"I knew she was into spread-betting," he admits. "She was always looking at the stock market. The lights would flash red and green on her phone. She didn't call it gambling, though. She called it 'trading'. We used to joke about it.
"She'd say 'I'm doing some trading'. I'd say 'It's betting'. But it was her money. I didn't like it, but I didn't have a big problem with it either."
Seven months after the pair met, they moved in together. Then came the first bombshell. Chris received a call from a former colleague alerting him to a betting scandal at work.
"A few of them were doing it. Some other chaps had put some money in. She had lost £10,000 ($19,390) of this collective money and these people were angry. She lost her job. They came to the flat demanding answers but I didn't let them in."
Many relationships would have died then. Chris took a different approach. "I did get angry — but at the same time I didn't think her colleagues were right to blame her and come after her. Everyone knows the market can go down as well as up. Why was it her fault?"
He says her distress at the situation (small fry, given what was to come) was pitiful. "She knows how to look vulnerable. She put on the tears, which always got to me."
So the relationship carried on, with Chris telling himself that since they were now living together he could "keep an eye on her". He pauses. "I didn't do a very good job of that."
In fact, over the coming months and years he witnessed Lia gambling repeatedly. By now she was working as a self-employed legal consultant. During their weekday evenings the lights would dance on her phone.
"Once I caught sight of some figures. It said £800,000 ($1.5M). I went 'WHAT?'. She said 'Oh come on, I haven't got £800,000. It's a practice game'. She'd joke about it but the money was real, I know that now."
By June 2014, Chris had proposed and visited her humble family home in Sumatra. "Her parents are lovely people but they didn't have much. Her dad sells those Calor gas canisters. They live above his garage."
Later that year, after they married, "visagate" started.
"With hindsight it was all nonsense," says Chris. "As my wife she would have got a visa easily, but she said she didn't want people to think I had only married her for the visa, so she wanted to do it her way.
"She said she had to show that she had a certain level of assets."
How much? "It varied. It went up and up. By the end I think it was at £5 million ($9.6M)."
Chris realises now how ridiculous that sounds but, as a newly married man deeply in love, he didn't allow alarm bells to sound.
So when Chris asked his parents to help with the visa situation, they agreed, handing over £25,000 ($48,475) without question.
A few weeks later, his dad made a confession. "He took me for lunch and said Lia had already asked them for a loan, and asked them not to tell me. They'd paid her £50,000 ($96,950), before the £25,000.
"I was furious that she'd gone behind my back. She told Dad she didn't want to worry me. She said: 'Please don't tell Chris. He will get stressed. He will drink too much.' They were thinking of me." The spiral continued, with many of the sides involved unaware of each other's involvement. Chris drained his own savings account to feed this visa fantasy.
"This time with my knowledge, she went back to my parents. They transferred more — £10,000 here, £20,000 there. They gave her £130,000 ($252,072) in the end. I was sucked dry. She took about £170,000 ($329,633) from us in total."
Surely Chris could see it was madness. "I know. But every time I came home she would be in tears, saying that her lawyer had been on again and the goalposts had moved, she needed to show she had more money. She was in a terrible state.
"She'd picked her fingers so much they were bleeding. I spoke to my MP and they offered to help but she refused, saying she had so many problems with immigration. It was all lies." In 2016, the true scale of this debacle was laid bare when the Fortes were contacted by one of the two businessmen who had loaned Lia £2.4 million ($4.6M) for her visa "issue".
Those men were Isaac Kaye and Warren Roiter, whom Lia had apparently met while working at the Grosvenor Hotel.
"Isaac was a bit of a mentor to her," says Chris of former Labour donor Kaye, chairman of IVAX Pharmaceuticals UK, the Health Service's biggest supplier of generic drugs. Roiter founded a law firm that specialised in advising pharmaceutical, biotech and healthcare companies.
They have both declined to comment on their involvement, and Chris is none too keen to draw them in further. The men understood Lia would hold the money in her account and, once her visa was issued, it would be refunded to them. Needless to say, they never saw their cash again.
"They have been quite reasonable with me. They were taken in as I was. When it all blew up, they just wanted proof the money wasn't hidden somewhere.
"They said: 'Get her out of the country and we will leave it.'"
Why did no one call the police at this point, when there were clear concerns that something dodgy was going on? "All I could see was my world collapsing," says Chris.
"I didn't want her in jail. I didn't know what she'd done but I still didn't think it was cold and calculating. There is something naive about her. She can be quite childish sometimes."
Lia was actually in Indonesia at this point. The ensuing telephone conversation was strained, to say the least. "She insisted that my money was safe but admitted she'd lost the £2.4 million through spread-betting. It was hideous. I was in a terrible state. I knew my marriage was over."
Chris went round to see his parents to break the news about the lost £2.4 million.
"We sat in the living room. Mum is usually stoic but her face went white. It was a case of 'bloody hell' all round."
In February of last year Chris initiated divorce proceedings, with Lia still insisting their money was safe and would be paid back.
"I'd say: 'Where is the money? Show me.' She'd show me screen grabs of a bank account, never the real thing. Then a friend called to say Lia had been on to him, asking to borrow £30,000 ($58,170).
"Again, she asked him not to tell me. It turned out she'd pretty much been through my address book phoning up anyone who might have a few quid." Chris's distress was not just about the money. At one point Lia told him she thought she was pregnant, then that she was in hospital having lost the baby.
"I don't know if there was ever a baby. Maybe I was grieving for a baby that never even existed."
When the couple divorced last August at a family court hearing in Brighton, Lia agreed to pay the £169,000 ($327,694) she owed the family at a rate of £1,700 ($3,296) a month, but in November she was declared bankrupt.
"I haven't had a penny from her," says Chris bitterly. "Yet since then she has been on a skiing holiday."
Lia is still working — as a legal consultant, no less — and living not far from the family in Brighton.
Chris said she phoned him just last week, having been contacted by a journalist, aware that he was going public. "She came on, doing the sad voice and the tears, saying: 'Please don't do this'.
"She phoned my dad. He told her she was a criminal and she should get lost."
But Lia is not a criminal. She has not been charged with any crime. "My parents did go to the police but they said it was a civil matter, on our part anyway."
Now Chris is furious, not just with his ex-wife but with the betting companies that, he believes, fed her addiction.
"They have to take some responsibility. The lack of regulation is appalling. This was a self-employed person who was declaring she earned £90,000 a year. How is she going to suddenly have access to £2 million?"
How does he feel about Lia now? 'Sometimes I just feel fury. Sometimes I feel sorry for her. I think she will end up lonely.
"She has burnt everyone who tried to help her. I have no idea who she is, what she is. I don't know if the person I married ever existed.
"What I can't get past is what she did to my parents. I'm young. I can work hard to try to recoup some money, but they can't."
Have they blamed him? "Never. Not once. But they don't need to. I blame myself, and I will have to carry that blame for ever."
"I want to replace that money for them but how can I? Unless I win the Lottery, I have no hope."
Not at all surprisingly, he has little appetite for even that sort of a gamble.