Two stand accused of defrauding young Marines through online dating scam

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WILMINGTON – A federal grand jury in Wilmington has indicted two people in connection with an online dating scheme to defraud young Marines.

The five-count indictment charges Jones Tyler Martin and Hailey Tykoski with conspiring to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and aiding and abetting, according to the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina.

The indictment alleges that, for an approximately two-year period from 2013 to May 2015, Martin created fake female identities on dating sites for the purpose of defrauding young, enlisted Marines, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

“Tykoski would use the fake female identities to communicate with some of the Marines by telephone and in person,” it states.

Through the use of the fake identities, Martin and Tykoski allegedly persuaded the victims to divulge personal information. With that information in hand, Martin and Tykoski fraudulently made wire transfers of money and obtained credit in victims’ names, the indictment alleges.

Both defendants have been arrested. Tykoski was arrested in Michigan and is scheduled to make her initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Wilmington on Nov. 29.  Martin was arrested in New Mexico and made his first court appearance on Tuesday in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

If convicted, the defendants face up to 30 years imprisonment on each conspiracy and wire fraud count, the release states. They also face two years consecutive imprisonment on each aggravated identity theft count.

The case is being investigated by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, Field Office Carolinas, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.