I lost a very good friend to a Russian bride mill, back in the late 1990's.
He was a programmer at Apple, and targeted for all the earliest web scams. Lonely, divorced, British, and a workaholic, he had no game at all.
So when a pretty Russian girl began chatting him up online, he fell head over heels.
Then came the medical issues that prevented her from flying. Once she got those sorted out, then she'd be able to come visit him in Silicon Valley and they could consummate their virtual love.
The complications from the surgery weren't bad, but she didn't have the money to deal with it properly... you know how it is in Russia, everybody wants their under-the-table bribe to make sure you get the right meds, or the room with a window, or the right doctor...
But she recovered quickly, thankfully. She was ready to travel, once she got her passport and visa situation taken care of.
Which ... wow ... these cost a lot of money! I had no idea!
And the wait list is soooo long! It'll be MONTHS before I get my visa...
Fortunately, my cousin works at the passport office, and can bribe the right person to get mine to the top of the pile... buuuut... I haven't been working, due to a little relapse that has me in bed again. Sooooo....
This went on and on for 2 years, or so. They planned the wedding and everything.
My last message to him - before I was blocked - was something along the lines of, "So, have you seen her in person yet?"
He never told me the exact numbers, but I think he was in for around $100k.
I suspect he is still single today.