More than one woman was defrauded by a scammer who was lying about his career on online dating sites.
On August 11th, Arizona state Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced that Daylon Pierce received a prison sentence of 15.75 years after taking advantage of women and their money through an online dating scam. One of his methods played on student loan anxiety.
Pierce, from Scottsdale, Arizona, pleaded guilty to two counts of fraudulent schemes and artifices. Pierce, who also operated under the name Daylon Jung, signed up for multiple dating sites including Match.com, Tinder.com, and PlentyOfFish.com and engaged in romantic behavior with various women.
The scam operated from 2013 to 2016. Pierce used various different tactics. One such move involved informing the defrauded women that he was a licensed stockbroker who could make them money. The criminal convinced multiple women to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in various schemes.
One victim, Tara DeGrazia, informed ABC15 that Pierce asked her questions about her credit history and whether she was financially able to purchase a house or car. Later, Pierce promised DeGrazia that he would help invest her money which she could then use to pay off her student loans, playing on student loan anxiety.
According to a press release from the office of Mark Brnovich, Pierce was able to get one victim to invest $240,000, some of which came from her 401(k) proceeds. Another victim took out more than $100,000 in loans and gave that money to Pierce to invest. Pierce had been telling these women he was a successful, licensed stockbroker although no such record to corroborate that claim can be found.
"Pierce tricked his victims by pretending to be a wealthy businessman in order to gain access to their life savings," Attorney General Brnovich added. "Pierce then spent the victims' money in casinos, nightclubs, and strip clubs.”
A few of the victimized women were in the courtroom on Friday for Pierce’s sentencing. Pierce apologized to said women in the courtroom. "If I could have avoided this and taken it back, I would," Pierce said.
A restitution hearing is scheduled for a later time. In 2013, Pierce was let out of prison after doing a 13-year sentence for theft, trafficking theft, and gang activity. Additionally, Pierce was on federal probation for bank embezzlement.
Scams involving student loans have become commonplace in the U.S. Only last Friday, The Student Loan Report covered a student loan related scam that involved a North Carolina man and his cell phone number. Scammers had hacked the man’s number and were using it to call hundreds of people to trick them into giving them money by promising to pay off their student loans.
Strangely, this is not the first time there has been a student loan related scheme operating through an online dating site. In May, a New Jersey woman was scammed on an online dating site when a man had promised to give her $500 each month to help pay off her student loans if she gave the scammer her personal banking information. Each one of the checks the woman had received bounced, while her bank account was overdrawn by $4,670.
Image Copyright © Jordan