Pankhurst, who had parted ways with the site when it was sold to ITV, was offered the chance to try to breathe new life into Friends Reunited two years ago.
He said that he had been able to stem the site's decline, but that it had not been able to cover its costs, and that many of the contact details for the millions of users were out of date.
Friends Reunited allowed its users to get in touch with old acquaintances by searching for people who shared a school, university or workplace.
“I had to sell my house to pay my debts, my credit score is through the roof so I cannot have any credit, mortgage or overdraft.
“Hundreds of other women must be being conned.” Miss Roberts was persuaded to send money to a bank account and via Western Union after “Sgt Smith” said he wanted to buy himself out of the army so they could live together.
Pankhurst and his wife Julie, who he credited with the original idea, earned an estimated £30 million from selling the site in 2005.
While Friends Reunited has fallen into decline, Facebook has signed up more than one billion users and made its founder Mark Zuckerberg a billionaire many times over.
Then, a series of events, chance encounters, or bouts of nostalgia suddenly threw them back into each other's lives. Maybe you've been dreaming about your high school or college crush, daydreaming and wondering the question "what if?
" Does the idea of friends reunited dating really seem so farfetched?
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Any views expressed in message boards and member notes represent the opinions of the author, and do not represent the opinions of Friends Reunited Limited.
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There are around 1,600,000 members of Friends Reunited in the UKd, with the single population growing rapidly each year.