Phoenix man accused in online dating scam gets 15.75 years in prison

PHOENIX -

A Scottsdale man was sentenced to nearly 16 years behind bars for allegedly scamming women through online dating websites.

Daylon Pierce was sentenced on Friday after pleading guilty to two counts of fraudulent schemes and artifices.

According to Attorney General Mark Brnovich, Pierce, who also went by the name of Daylon Jung, signed up for several dating websites (Match, PlentyOfFish and Tinder) and became involved in romantic relationships with multiple women.

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From 2013 to 2016, Pierce told the victims that he was a licensed stockbroker and convinced them to invest thousands of dollars in fraudulent schemes, officials said.

ABC15 spoke to an unidentified victim in 2016 who described him as being “very charming” but now realizes he was just searching for women with “a good credit score.”

Another victim, Tara DeGrazia, says he asked her questions about her credit and if she was financially capable of buying a house or a car. He also promised to help her invest her money so that she could pay off her student loans.

“I had just gotten a divorce,” DeGrazia said. “I was vulnerable and he ‘wowed’ me,” DeGrazia described.

“Pierce tricked his victims by pretending to be a wealthy businessman in order to gain access to their life savings,” Brnovich explained.

Pierce used the money at casinos, nightclubs and strip clubs, officials said. There are also no records of him being a licensed stockbroker.

One of the victims invested $240,000 including part of her 401K proceeds. Another victim took out a $100,000 loan to give to Pierce as an investment.

Victims spoke to ABC15 after the sentencing Friday — not surprisingly, all of them were relieved.

"It is great," Sarah Schroeder said. "It feels like we've kind of won in a sense. Finally being able to see him in handcuffs and being sentenced was very liberating.

Schroeder was among three women who made statements at sentencing.

Rose Reddy explained how Peirce went to great lengths to make his scam believable.

"He was on the phone making deals on his computer while I was right there listening to him talk," Reddy recalled.

She said Peirce drove luxury cars and had several homes, which she now believes were paid for by the victims' misdirected investments. 

"When you went over to his house — he had it all," Reddy said. "The closet all organized; all the colored shoes. He had everything covered that you would never question.

Pierce apologized to the women in the courtroom and hoped for their forgiveness someday.

"If I could have avoided this and taken it back, I would," Pierce said.

A restitution hearing is slated for a later date.

In 2013, Peirce was released from prison after serving a 13-year sentence for theft, trafficking theft, and gang activity. Records also show that he was on federal probation for bank embezzlement.

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