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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Confidence Man Pleads Guilty In Fraud And Identity Theft Scheme

Joon H. Kim, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that JOHN EDWARD TAYLOR, a/k/a “Jay Taylor,” a/k/a “Josie Reeser,” pled guilty before U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain to wire fraud and sending threatening communications, in connection with his seven-year scheme to defraud multiple victims into providing their personal identifying information, which Taylor then used to make hundreds of thousands of dollars in unauthorized purchases.  

Acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said:  “John Edward Taylor’s online dating profile read like a dream – a millionaire businessman looking for love.  But in reality, Taylor was using dating websites not to search for a girlfriend but for his next victim.  Taylor promised business opportunities and romantic relationships just to steal his victims’ identities and loot their bank accounts, and then threatened those who discovered what he was doing.  Now Taylor is facing time in federal prison for his fraudulent ways.”   

According to the allegations in the Complaint, the Indictment, and statements made at related court proceedings:

JOHN EDWARD TAYLOR, a/k/a “Jay Taylor,” a/k/a “Josie Reeser,” stole, or attempted to steal, money, credit, and personal information from more than a dozen women (the “Victims”) in cities across the country, including New York City, Chicago, Atlanta, and Philadelphia.

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.

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TAYLOR, 47, pled guilty to one count of wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense, and one count of sending threatening interstate communications, which carries a maximum sentence of two years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense.  Taylor is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Swain on January 4, 2018.

Mr. Kim praised the outstanding work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation for their investigative efforts and ongoing support and assistance with the case.

The prosecution of this case is being overseen by the Office’s General Crimes Unit.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jonathan Rebold and Andrew Thomas are in charge of the case

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Press Release Number: 
17-300
Updated September 19, 2017