Consumer tips to avoid falling victim to robocall scams
A man accused of scamming $80,000 out of a Georgia woman he met on Match.com has been arrested in Tennessee — but she’s far from his only victim, according to police.
“These types of con men are very good at manipulating their victims,” police in Georgia said Wednesday. “They tend to say everything that a woman wants to hear.”
Authorities in Franklin, Tennessee, said they arrested 34-year-old John Martin Hill of Fort Mill, South Carolina, on Tuesday night at a local Marriott hotel, following up on a tip after Hill was listed as a fugitive in Georgia. Hill tried to escape by “darting into a hotel conference room and hiding under a table,” but ultimately came out and was taken into custody, police said in a news release.
Hill is being held at the Williamson County Jail on $500,000 bond as Georgia police work to extradite him, according to the Franklin police news release.
The arrest comes after Gwinnett County police in Georgia said Tuesday they were looking for Hill. He was accused of connecting with an Alpharetta woman on Match.com in late March, meeting her the same day, getting engaged to her within a week and then disappearing with $80,000 that the woman gave him to help buy and furnish the home they were shopping for together.
“The suspect told the victim that he was a millionaire,” Gwinnett police said.
Hill faces felony deception charges in Georgia in that incident.
Gwinnett police said that after they shared the woman’s story, they “heard from a few other women who stated that they were either in a relationship with Hill or knew someone who was romantically involved with him.” And it’s not only Georgia women: Police in Maryland’s Montgomery County, outside Washington, D.C., said Wednesday that Hill is wanted there under the name Gregory Dutton.
Maryland police said they received a report in August 2017 that Dutton started dating a woman he me online, then borrowed about $4,500 from her saying “he was attending law school and needed the money to take a bar exam.”
The check Dutton wrote to repay the woman bounced — but he had disappeared and “cut off all ties with the victim” by that point, though he was using her name and personal details to get financing to buy a new car, police said.
University of Maryland police pulled pulled Dutton over in December 2017 while he was driving a 2017 Acura IXL that had a stolen South Carolina license plate, Montgomery County police said.
Detectives found that he had purchased the car with a bad check in Chevy Chase, Maryland, and that he was wanted in Delaware for fraud as well. Montgomery County police got a fraud arrest warrant and Dutton was arrested in Washington in April 2018 — but he posted bond and disappeared, police said.
Maryland police said Dutton will ultimately be extradited to the state “after joint consultation with the various jurisdictions up and down the east coast who had warrants outstanding for Dutton’s arrest.”
“By sharing this story, it is our hope that he is not able to victimize any other women using this scam,” police in Georgia said. “ When meeting someone online, be very cautious sharing personal information, financial information, or cash with someone in the early stages of a relationship.”
At the time he was scamming the Alpharetta woman, he lived with a woman and child in Duluth, Georgia, police said. He’s implicated in similar dating scams in New Jersey and Virginia.