Man and woman use online dating profiles to target U.S. Marines in identity theft scheme

A judge sentenced two people Monday for their convictions in a fraudulent scheme that seriously impacted the United States Marine Corps and many Marines from North Carolina to California.

Jones Tyler Martin of South Carolina, and Hailey Tykoski of Michigan previously pleaded guilty for their roles in the scheme.

Martin was sentenced to over four years in prison, five years supervised release, and was ordered to pay $117,306.42 in restitution.

Tykoski was sentenced to five years probation and was ordered to pay $42,289.05 in restitution.

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.

H. Andrew Goodridge, Special Agent in Charge, Naval Criminal Investigative Service said, “This case reminds all of us to remain vigilant about what information we provide to strangers, it also demonstrates that NCIS is committed to pursuing those who exploit US service members.”

The investigation revealed that between 2013 and 2015 Martin, working with accomplices including Tykoski, created fake female identities on internet dating websites to target and lure young enlisted Marines into virtual relationships.

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.

Martin and Tykoski got 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.

This left the victim Marines to pay off the debts.