2 sentenced for fraud in online dating scheme targeting Marines

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WNCT) — Two people were sentenced Monday for defrauding Marines, including some at Camp Lejeune, by creating fake female identities on internet dating websites and luring them into virtual relationships.

Jones Martin of Hampton, South Carolina, was sentenced to 57 months in prison plus five years of supervised release. He was also ordered to pay a little more than $117,000 in restitution. Hailey Tyoski of Wayne, Michigan, was given five years of probation and ordered to pay at little more than $42,000 in restitution.

Between 2013 and 2015, Martin, working with accomplices including Tykoski, created the fake identities and targeted young, enlisted Marines, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

In the course of the fraud scheme, the defendants sent text messages and emails to Marines who were deceived into believing they were in online romantic relationships, federals officials said.

The conspirators induced the victims to take out personal loans from Navy Federal Credit Union.

Using the victims’ personal identification, Martin then initiated wire transfers of the loan proceeds into other accounts.

Martin also withdrew funds using new lines of credit and accounts in the victims’ names, leaving the victim Marines to pay off the debts, according to federal officials.

Federal officials said Marines from California to North Carolina were impacted by the scheme.

In September 2016, a federal grand jury in Wilmington returned a five-count indictment charging Martin and Tykoski with conspiring to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and aiding and abetting.

On January 30, 2017, Martin pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.

On March 27, 2017, Tykoski pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

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