A man and a woman accused of setting up fake online dating accounts and using them to lure Marines from North Carolina to California into giving them personal and private financial information were sentenced in federal court on Monday for conspiring to commit wire fraud.
Federal prosecutors contend that Jones Tyler Martin of Hampton, S.C., and Hailey Tykoski of Wayne, Mich., worked together to create false identities for women on Meetme.com to reel in Marines looking for online romance.
Between 2013 and 2015, prosecutors argued, the two used the catfishing scheme to trick several enlisted men at Camp Lejuene and the Marine Air Station in New River into thinking they were involved with “Kalin Jordan,” the name they used for their fake account.
After text messages and phone calls, Martin and Tykoski were able to convince their targets that they would be moving into an apartment with their online love interest, but to do so they needed to apply for and take out personal loans from the Navy Federal Credit Union, according to prosecutors.
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The Martin and Tykoski then used the personal identification numbers and other financial information to set up new accounts and lines of credit under the Marines’ names, taking the money but leaving the Marines to pay off the debts.
In September 2016, a federal grand jury in Wilmington handed up a five-count indictment charging Martin and Tykoski with conspiring to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, aggravated identity theft and aiding and abetting.
On Jan. 30, Martin pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.
On March 27, Tykoski pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
On Monday, U.S. District Judge W. Earl Britt sentenced the two.
Martin was sentenced to almost four and a half years in prison and five years of supervised probation and ordered to pay $117,306 in restitution.
Tykoski was sentenced to five years of probation and ordered to pay $42,289 in restitution.