Two individuals were sentenced yesterday for creating fake female identities on dating websites and luring US Marines into virtual relationships.
Jones Martin of South Carolina was sentenced to 57 months in prison, five years of supervised release and now owes $117,306.42 in restitution for his involvement in the scam, while Michigan native Hailey Tykoski was sentenced to five years probation and ordered to pay back $42,289.05.
A Federal grand jury returned a five-count indictment charging Martin and Tykoski with conspiring to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and aiding and abetting after they and other accomplices used fake identities to target young, enlisted Marines, according to documentation from the US Department of Justice.
On January 30 of this year, Martin pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and aggravated identity theft, while Tykoski pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud in March.
The duo -who reportedly had help from others- reportedly “catfished” young Marines, tricking them into believing they were in online romantic relationships, sending text messages and emails.
The devious scammers then convinced the Marines to take out personal loans from Navy Federal Credit Union, which allowed Martin to initiate wire transfers and take out lines of credit using the identities of the Marines.
According to WNCT, authorities claim that Marines from California to North Carolina fell victim to the scammers.
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