A man who posed as a millionaire oil tycoon on multiple dating websites in order to defraud women out of hundreds of thousands of dollars was sentenced to nearly four years in prison on Thursday.
From 2009-2016, John Edward Taylor, 48, advertised himself as a millionaire businessman in the area of oil in North Dakota. He used Match.com, eHarmony, Craigslist and Seeking Arrangement to find his victims. Although he was reported to the FBI in 2015, he was not indicted by a federal grand jury until 2017, reported the New York Daily News.
Taylor, who went by Jay Taylor, reportedly scammed over two dozen victims down the East Coast from New York to Atlanta.
During the sentence hearing on Thursday, U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain ordered Taylor to serve three years and 10 months in prison in addition to 14 months he served after a related Virginia conviction, reported the Associated Press.
Judge Swain said 16 of Taylor’s victims lost money that ranged from several hundred dollars to over $50,000 after becoming pawns in his “quest for money, respect, admiration and control.” Some victims, who lost a total of $290,000, were left in destitute financial shape and other suffered lower credit scores.
During the hearing, some of the anonymous victims admitted to suffering from fear, depression, anxiety and concern for their personal safety.
Taylor was first reported to authorities when a married couple, who met Taylor at a Philadelphia Phillies game, became victims of the con.
The father, identified in court only as D.S., said at the game, Taylor claimed he was a billionaire oil tycoon. Taylor guided the family to VIP elevators and down to premium first-row seats.
Later on, the family discovered Taylor “was a fraud, a fake and a phony.”
The father said his family lost a few hundred dollars because they were swindled by “a very, very charismatic man.”
When it comes to the women he found on dating sites, Taylor would sometimes say he wanted to hire the victims to work on a new business venture while others got a pitch for a romantic or personal relationship, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Rebold said in court.
During the romantic relationships, Taylor would sometimes steal their identities to make purchases, transfer funds, open new accounts or use their credit cards, Rebold added.
Once confronted, Taylor would threaten to transmit sexually explicit images he had coerced from victims to their employers if they tried to collect debts, Rebold said.
In court, defense attorney Julia Gatto argued Taylor suffered a “mental health crisis,” in prison and attempted suicide. Despite her reasoning for a lesser sentence, Taylor was still given sufficient time in prison.
Taylor, at one point in the hearing, tearfully apologized to victims and called himself a liar and a “bragging, arrogant thief.”
In 2015 Taylor appeared on WJLA to promote his own dating site called, “Two for Breakfast.”