John Edward Taylor lured victims who he met on matchmaking dating sites and told them that he was a millionaire and businessman. The 47-year-old man wined and dined his victims before stealing their identities and using their accounts and credit to pay for his expenses, according to officials.
A federal grand jury indicted Taylor, a/k/a “Jay Taylor,” a/k/a “Josie Reeser.”
The five-count indictment states that Taylor allegedly stole, or attempted to steal, money, credit, and personal information from more than a dozen women in cities across the country, including New York City, Chicago, Atlanta, and Philadelphia, officials announced Tuesday.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “John Edward Taylor allegedly trolled dating websites to find unsuspecting women for his ‘romance’ scam, designed to steal their money. While masquerading as a millionaire businessman with romantic and professional interest in his victims, Taylor was in reality an alleged con artist. When confronted by some of his victims for looting their bank accounts, Taylor took his insidious crime another step further, allegedly threatening to release sexually explicit photos of them.”
According to the allegations in the Complaint and Indictment filed in federal court:
- Taylor contacted victims using online matchmaking and networking websites, such as Match.com, eHarmony, Craigslist, and Seeking Arrangement.
- Taylor typically introduced himself as “Jay” and often falsely described himself as a wealthy businessman with oil and land interests in North Dakota.
- To some Victims, Taylor feigned interest in hiring the victims to work on a new business Taylor purported to be creating. To other Victims, Taylor expressed an interest in a romantic and personal relationship. To most Victims, Taylor purported to be interested in both a personal and a professional relationship.
- Using a variety of false pretenses, Taylor obtained the Victims’ personal identifying information, often including birthdates, addresses, and bank and credit account numbers.
- Taylor used the Victims’ personal identifying information to purchase goods, transfer funds, and open new accounts – all without authorization. In certain circumstances, Taylor opened accounts without the Victims’ knowledge. In other circumstances, TAYLOR opened accounts that he assured Victims were business accounts, but were, in fact, personal accounts in the Victims’ names, over which Taylor maintained exclusive control.
- Often within a matter of months, Victims would discover thousands of dollars in unauthorized charges and transfers in their existing accounts, receive bills for accounts they had never created, or learn their existing accounts had been closed due to delinquency.
- Independent of each other, multiple Victims confronted Taylor about his activities.
- To some, Taylor responded with insults.
- To others, Taylor responded with promises to repay the losses – and on at least one occasion attempted to repay one victim with funds unlawfully obtained from another Victim.
- On multiple occasions, Taylor threatened to transmit sexually explicit images of the Victims – which he had obtained as part of his purported romantic relationships with them – to the Victims’ employers if the Victims tried to collect their debts.
- Taylor’s fraud and attempted fraud totaled hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses.
Taylor is presumed innocent unless he is proven guilty.
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