It now seems obvious to Christopher Forte that there was something implausible about his Indonesian wife Juliana Posman’s incessant demands for money.
But, as he ruefully admits, he was blinded by love. By the time he realised she had run up a £3.5million gambling debt, he and his parents were £169,000 poorer and his marriage was over.
Miss Posman, 38, also owes two businessmen £2.5million and a spread betting company hundreds of thousands, on top of other debts including numerous credit cards.
Love-struck: Christopher Forte is pictured with Juliana Posman on their wedding day. She would go on to run up a £3.5milllion gambling debt
Mr Forte, 36, who was a boarder at Lancing College, told the Daily Mail he fell for Miss Posman within a month of meeting her in 2010 when they were both working for an IT firm in Egham, Surrey.
She had been in England since she was 20, initially working at the Grosvenor Hotel in London, where she befriended businessmen Isaac Kaye and Warren Roiter.
Miss Posman, who has an MBA, told Mr Forte she earned money gambling on movements in the German stock exchange index the DAX, typically betting that it would fall below a certain level.
She regularly reported daily wins of £500 on spread betting websites, with occasional losses of around £200. But on one occasion, Mr Forte said, she lost £1.3million in a day. However, impressed by her faith that she would ‘strike it rich’, he proposed to her.
The pair married in a £20,000 civil ceremony at the Grosvenor Hotel in 2014, with a second wedding a few months later for around 100 of her Chinese-Indonesian family in Indonesia, followed by a honeymoon in Bali.
Soon afterwards, though, the problems began. Mr Forte, previously a well-paid software contractor, was working as an English as a foreign language teacher in Brighton, while Miss Posman was earning £90,000 a year commission from a credit and law firm.
Mr Forte – pictured at his wedding reception on the day he married Miss Posman – admits he was blinded by love
But she started asking her husband and his parents for ‘loans’, saying she needed to show she had assets of £5million to get a visa.
Mr Forte said: ‘In retrospect it was absolute rubbish. I’m British, she was my wife, and we could have got her a legitimate visa for a couple of thousand. But I didn’t realise that – I was in love. I would wake up and she’d be in tears, saying “I need another £15,000”.
‘She’d be crying as she asked me if I could raid my savings, sell my Premium Bonds, or ask my parents. If I asked any questions she’d get more upset, say I didn’t trust her, and walk out saying “You don’t want me any more”.’
He lent her £45,000, while his retired parents handed their daughter-in-law £131,330.
‘Juliana would say it was sitting in her bank account,’ said the former public schoolboy.
Then in April 2016 he received a letter from Mr Roiter, who told him that he and his business partner Mr Kaye had lent Miss Posman £2.5million. They claimed they had been told Mr Forte would guarantee the loans, but he knew nothing about them.
Miss Posman was in Indonesia at the time but when she returned to their smart marital flat in Balham, south London, her story unravelled. It emerged that she had given £750,000 to her brother, £250,000 to her parents and lost several million spread betting.
When the couple divorced last August at a family court hearing in Brighton, Miss Posman agreed to pay the £169,000 she still owes Mr Forte and his parents at a rate of £1,700 a month. She has failed to make the repayments and has since been declared bankrupt. Penniless Mr Forte is now lodging in Brighton with a relative, while Miss Posman, who has obtained leave to remain in Britain, lives in a seaside flat in Hove, East Sussex.
He said: ‘Gambling addiction is one of the worst because of the damage it does families. She didn’t marry me for my money, but maybe she saw I was a soft touch. She doesn’t deserve a visa.’
Mr Kaye and Mr Roiter are believed to have written off the £2.5million she owes them. They refused to comment.
Miss Posman, who has recently posted on social media from a skiing holiday, did not respond to requests for comment.