Thursday, September 16, 2010

Match.com Grifter to be Charged with Grand Larceny

(yet more reasons to NOT USE Online Dating EVER. Sound familiar members? - EOPC)


An East Village, NYC Romeo who passed himself off as a globetrotting NFL exec is accused of ripping off a beautiful, love-struck divorcee to the tune of a quarter-million dollars.

As he allegedly fleeced her and at least one other woman while posing as an accomplished 40-year-old winner, accused con man John Egan was, in reality, a fat, prematurely gray, 32-year-old sports nut and professional loser who lived with his parents on Avenue C, compulsively trolling the Web.

Now, Egan is the subject of a Manhattan District Attorney's Office investigation. The DA plans to seat a grand jury early next month on grand-larceny charges, said a law-enforcement source.

For beautiful Thea Miller, it may be too late. The San Francisco divorcee claims she was financially ruined and emotionally devastated by the beguiling grifter she met online.

"I was naive," Thea admitted.

Over a period of months starting in 2007, Egan is accused of running up Miller's credit-card bill to nearly $250,000, spending tens of thousands on sports tickets, including Mets-vs.-Yankees ducats from Razorgator.com.

He also allegedly bought up more than $80,000 in sports memorabilia, including baseballs, bats and gloves signed by Derek Jeter, a $1,799.99 Michael Jordan Team USA jersey, and a $1,149.99 Tiger Woods photo from the 1997 Masters Tournament, from Steiner Sports.

That's not to mention two diamond rings and a pair of sapphire earrings from Tiffany's, cases of wine and pricey meals.

All of the items were shipped to his parents' address -- with him often paying an extra $25 for rush shipment.

Yet, bizarrely, Miller and Egan never met in the flesh.

For two years, Egan sent e-mails and text messages -- but no photos -- to Miller, sometimes also calling her 10 times a day. He promised to take her to Giants football games and charity events. Each time, he'd abruptly cancel their date, claiming his mother was sick or he had a business emergency.

"He charmed me," said Miller, now 52, who sells high-end real estate. "He said he loved his mother, grew up in a big Catholic family. He was very sweet. I figured I'd meet him when I'd meet him. I wasn't in a hurry.

"I was falling in love."

Now, Miller is paying for it. She has had to sell her house and pull her teenage son from private school to make ends meet. She peddled some valuable antiques and moved into an apartment, struggling to pay off the massive debt she incurred, allegedly thanks to Egan.

Her lawyer, Michael Galluzzi, this year filed a civil lawsuit against Egan in Manhattan Supreme Court. When the defendant failed to show up for his court date, Miller was granted a default judgment of $300,000, plus another $300,000 for future losses. The money remains uncollected.

It all started, innocently enough, with an online ad.

Miller's girlfriends, wanting to help her out after she became single again, put together a profile, then posted it on match.com.

Soon, she was contacted via e-mail by the man she thought she'd been waiting for.

Egan told Miller he was 40, lived in Manhattan and traveled extensively for his job in game-day operations with the NFL. He said he liked older women.

After a while, Egan told Miller he had a problem with his credit card. Saying he was determined to buy a birthday dinner for his mom, Pauline, he allegedly asked Miller for her American Express card number. She gave it to him, but then he called again, allegedly saying some places don't take AmEx; could he have another card?

Trustingly, stupidly, she gave Egan her card numbers, she said. He promised to repay her.

When she got the bills, Miller was floored.

She demanded that Egan repay her, but he just strung her along for months, she said. Via Federal Express, he sent $10,000 in checks, which allegedly bounced. He allegedly gave Tiffany's and Steiner Sports bank-account numbers, which were bogus.

Finally, Miller threatened to call authorities. She said he threatened her back.

"I know where you live," she said he texted. "I know where your snotty-brat kid lives."

"I was devastated," Miller said. "I cried for weeks."

Last week, a man who was identified by Egan's father and a pal as John Egan was outside his parents' Avenue C apartment, driving a BMW registered to his dad, Patrick. The man gave his name as "James."

One pal said Egan got married three or four years ago.

This was a surprise to Yolanda Castaneda, 41, also from San Francisco.

She said she met Egan on match.com, where he claimed to be an agent for the Yankees and Jets, but never met him. He did send her photos -- although they were from 15 years ago, when he was much slimmer and minus the gray hair.

But Castaneda was luckier than Miller.

She quickly got suspicious when she saw Egan was on match.com day and night, and cut him off sooner.

Castaneda won a default 2007 small-claims-court judgment of $6,065 against Egan, after she shipped him wine that he said was for his parents' anniversary party.

Egan did not return cellphone messages. His parents refused comment.

Match.com did not respond to a message.

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