It was an innocuous start. The handyman who showed up to fix her cabinets in July 2018 turned out to be talkative and charming. On a return visit to fix a towel rack, Heather Rovet asked him out, and the relationship quickly became serious. She wouldn't learn what a mistake that was for three years, though there were signs along the way that she waved off. In a lengthy piece for Toronto Life, Jane Gerster explains that the handyman, Jace Peretti, was really "a master romance scammer." Rovet, who met him at 46, quickly grew to trust him due to how open he was about his past—parents who died young, an ongoing custody battle for his son. So when pricey items went missing—a friend's Rolex, diamond jewelry her parents had—she didn't suspect him.
Nor did she suspect things were amiss when he booked and then canceled foreign trips for them, or when a friend said she saw photos of Peretti on Bumble, or when her friend dug up a family court judgment under the name Jason Porter (he said it was a professional pseudonym) that referenced two children, not one. They signed a new lease, bought a business, and daydreamed about their eventual wedding. It wasn't until September 2021 that she happened to come upon a list of passwords and tried one on a computer they had shared. "He’d been talking to hundreds of women under fake names ... for years. She found Kijiji listings and bills of sale for jewelry, including her mother’s Tiffany ring," writers Gerster. Then she Googled "Jason Porter," and found years-old articles about the "Online Romeo." (Read the full story, which delves into other alleged victims, Peretti/Porter's denials, and the aftermath for Rovet.)